Scottish Rugby joins social media boycott to tackle online hate

Scottish Rugby is joining this weekend’s social media boycott in a bid to send a message that online abuse will not be tolerated.

Scotland's professional players are standing together to back this weekend's social media boycott. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Athletes, clubs and governing bodies from a range of sports are taking part in the campaign.

All those involved are proposing a near-total blackout on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels from 3pm on Friday until 11.59pm on Monday night.

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Scotland’s two professional clubs, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, are taking part in the boycott and have the backing of their players. The SRU has also encouraged its member clubs to take part.

A statement from the SRU said: “Scottish Rugby is joining other sports bodies, clubs and companies in a social media boycott this weekend as a part of a drive to tackle online hate.

“The move, which will be supported by both pro-clubs, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors and has the support of our professional players via Rugby Players Scotland, will see our social media accounts fall silent from 3pm tomorrow (Friday 30 April) until just before midnight on Monday (3 May).

“We also encourage member clubs to consider following suit.

“The Scottish Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors websites will remain in action and supporters may still receive digital communications from all three.”

Scottish football has made a collective decision to switch off all social media use and Hibs and Celtic have both issued strong statements condemning online abuse.

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John Jeffrey, the Scottish Rugby Board chairman, has stressed the inclusivity of rugby and appealed for an end to online abuse.

“We know rugby excites passion but there is absolutely no place in our game for anyone to peddle hate and abuse online,” said Jeffrey, the former Scotland flanker.

“Scottish Rugby is open to everyone. We are committed to enhancing inclusion and diversity in our sport and to underline our determination that our social media platforms should be safe and welcoming spaces for all.”

Tim Swinson, the chairman of Rugby Players Scotland, said: “All our members fully support Scottish Rugby in this initiative and in recognising the importance of inclusion and diversity for the development of the sport.”

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