Mario Balotelli Was Racially Abused Over 4,000 Times on Social Media This Season

"Kick It Out" reports startling new statistics on fan social media abuse towards Premier League players.

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Complex Original

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Mercurial Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, a consistent victim of racist taunts during soccer matches, is also the most racially abused Premiership player on social media. An anti-discrimination organization called Kick It Out has been collecting data on social media racism this season, and according to their findings from August 2014 to March 2015, there were 134,400 instances (39,000 towards players, 95,000 towards clubs) of abuse and/or discrimination towards players and teams this season. Kick It Out says those numbers average out to one abusive post every 2.6 minutes. 

Online racism behind the veil of anonymity isn't a new or shocking topic for anyone with an Internet connection, but the sheer quantity of posts make Kick It Out's findings startling. Putting a figure to something happening in spaces beneath your timeline really puts it all in perspective. In Balotelli's case, he's the No. 1 target for bigots on social media, having received over 8,000 abusive posts, with 52 percent of them being deemed racist by Kick It Out. 

Two other black Premiership strikers were second and third in Kick It Out's abuse rankings: Arsenal's Danny Welbeck had 1,700 offensive posts, and Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge saw 1,600 of them land in his notifications this season. Out of the Premiership's clubs Chelsea lead with 20,000 messages. Liverpool were second with 19,000, and Arsenal had 12,000.

In total, Kick It Out estimates that 37,632 of the 134,400 posts they collated contained racist language. Only 140 of such cases were reported to authorities, and only one was prosecuted. 

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[via Sky Sports

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