Marvin Bartley says the racist abuse he received on social media will not discourage him from continuing his fight to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination.
The Livingston assistant manager was targeted after commenting on Rangers’ recent Europa League defeat at Sparta Prague, in which Glen Kamara was repeatedly booed by the home crowd of around 10,000 Czech schoolchildren and some accompanying adults.
The treatment of the Rangers midfielder came five months after Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela was banned for 10 matches having been found guilty by UEFA of racist behaviour towards Kamara.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Bartley said: “This is the norm for me, I know that I go into these battles to speak about racism and discriminative messages and I know what is going to come on the flip side of that.
“I am fine, I am emotionally disengaged with social media in terms of the racist abuse that I receive because I have to be. If I let this run my life then there will be a lot of sleepless nights.
“It doesn’t discourage me or take the wind out of my sails in terms of what I am trying to do. I want equality for everybody and these small-minded people won’t stop me on my crusade of trying to achieve that.”
Bartley took to Twitter and Instagram on Tuesday to post images of a number of racist messages he had received on social media since the match, alongside the caption: “Excuse the explicit language but this is always the case after you speak about discrimination!”
He confirmed that he will report the abuse he received on Instagram and Twitter, just as he has done previously, but was not overly optimistic that anything will be done.
Instagram has been approached by Sky Sports News for comment, but Bartley revealed that previous incidences of racism he reported went unpunished by the platform because they were said to not have breached their terms and conditions.
“I have reported these things in the past, I will do so again. Hopefully this time they look at it slightly differently and they take action on it,” Bartley added.
“Will I hold my breath in terms of this happening? No I won’t. If they are now saying this, then hopefully that is the change that we need.”
Livingston also released a statement on Twitter in support of Bartley, which read: “An utterly depressing and disgusting flurry of racial attacks on assistant manager Marvin Bartley today.
“Every single person connected with the club stands firmly alongside Marvin in the battle for equality and an end to racism.”
UEFA has confirmed it has opened an investigation into “potential discriminatory incidents” during Rangers’ defeat in the Czech Republic.
A statement from UEFA said: “In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding potential discriminatory incidents allegedly occurring during the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League group-stage match between AC Sparta Praha and Rangers FC played on 30 September 2021.
“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”
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