The former player goes after the trolls in the new documentary (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Jermaine Jenas has opened up about the vile racist abuse sent to him on social media in new Channel 4 documentary Hunting the Football Trolls.
The former footballer and presenter hosts the new film, which takes a look at the 48% rise in racist messages sent to footballers via social media over lockdown.
The documentary comes after nearly a dozen people were arrested over the online racial abuse of England players following the Euro 2020 defeat against Italy.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to vile abuse after they missed penalties in the shoot-out final at Wembley in July. It led to condemnations by the Prime Minister, England manager Gareth Southgate and the Football Association.
‘This is one of the messages I received on Instagram,’ Jermaine said in the film while discussing the abuse he had personally received, before revealing that one user called him a ‘half-caste c***’.
The 38-year-old added: ‘I reported it and got a reply from Instagram which said, “We found that this account likely doesn’t go against our community guidelines.” What am I supposed to do? Just sit here and accept it?’
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to vile abuse (Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
The documentary also revealed that the police were investigating two social media users who sent racist messages to Jermaine while he was commentating on England games over the summer.
Jermaine also spoke about his experiences in the past, revealing that he used to see people call his dad ‘the N-word to his face from five yards’ when he used to watch him play semi-professional football growing up.
‘Now, it feels like we’re going all the way back to the dark ages of racism,’ he said. ‘The bananas getting thrown on the pitch [back in the 70s and 80s] have turned into monkey emojis being sent to people on social media.
‘The use of the N-word seems to be normalised again. It seems to be churned out on a weekly basis.’
Jermaine investigated the racially abuse aimed at players (Picture: BBC / The One Show / Getty)
Talking about the impact it has had on him, Jermaine said: ‘There are days when I get a barrage of abuse and I’ll be fine. But on some days, one will hit you and you think “I don’t like that.”’
The documentary saw Jermaine meet people who have sent abuse to players on social media and challenge them face to face.
‘Anyone who is prepared to go to their phone, type in a monkey and send that to a black player is a racist. It’s as simple as that. But I want people to change.’
Jermaine also met with specialist members of the police working on the frontline of the UK football policing unit, who are tasked with tracking down online trolls.
He also spoke to Kyle Walker, who was part of the England side who lost out in the Euro 2020 final, who said he ‘knew the racist abuse was coming’ after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed penalties.
Hunting the Football Trolls will be available to stream on All4.