Leeds forward Tyler Roberts is enjoying an impressive breakthrough season - and is now using his platform in the fight against racism.
Roberts, 22, is backing the Premier League's No Room For Racism campaign with the full support of his club by making a video about social media abuse, urging platforms to do more and players to report incidents.
Wales international Roberts has made the short film alongside Leeds United’s women’s player Bridie Hannon and their hope is a direct appeal is the best way to get their message across.
Roberts is incredibly passionate about the issue despite not having suffered online abuse himself but has seen his international team mates Rabbi Matondo and Ben Cabango targeted last month.
“If people can use their voice and kids can look up them or even older people can look up to them and change their views a little bit then it will definitely help,” said Roberts.
“It’s crazy that in 2021 this stuff is still going on. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s a together world and the people that are doing this are not educated enough.
“Having a voice can help and I’m definitely passionate about it. When I see racist abuse online and in person, I think: ‘how can you not do something about it?’ That’s what I’m finding crazy that the social media platforms have allowed it to go on this long.
“I think if it’s a copyright issue then Instagram will take it down so quickly. But something like this, it will take hours to be submitted, days to get taken off or not get taken off at all.
Roberts says he personally has not been targeted online, he was racially abused to his face while away with Wales on international duty with the under-17s in Belarus and after that his club and coaches were very supportive.
But he believes that taking the knee has been a powerful message and, while clubs are being consulted about a potential complete social media blackout, Roberts believe the ultimate power lies with educating the offenders and the social media companies.
Roberts said: “I understand why it (a blackout) is being talked about and anything that can help this situation is a positive.
"When I first heard about the taking of the knee, I was proud of the football community because it was a strong message of unity between all the clubs.
“But the main message is to the people involved in creating this and to the social media platforms because they really need to step up and do something about it.”
Roberts has a very powerful voice and speaks well and his maturity has clearly added to him growing into an established Premier League player with Leeds this season.
He has really found his feet in the top flight this season under Marcelo Bielsa and, as they face Liverpool on Monday night, he revealed that their 4-3 defeat at Anfield on the opening weekend actually gave them the confidence they belonged.
Roberts added: “It just showed that we could hold our own against the best. I think we thought we could do that but it really showed the world of football that we could.
“It was the first game of the season and, no matter how much belief you have in yourself and your team, you always work out from that first game where you’re at and so to be able to perform like that, score three goals at Anfield made us think: ‘Yeah, we can do this.’
“Leeds United as a club, coming back into the Premier League, was massive in itself and the boys made a massive achievement in getting us there, we took a lot from there but just being in the Premier League wasn’t enough.
“We wanted to be competitive, we wanted to play and show that our style of play can work and give even the best teams a proper test.”
TAGLINE: For more information on the Premier League’s No Room for Racism Action Plan visit www.premierleague.com/noroomforracism