The players in question were the Gunners’ Nicolas Pepe and Leeds’ Ezgjan Alioski.
Arsenal and Leeds United Issue Joint Statement Responding to Abuse of Players on Social Media
What Happened? And Why Were Those Players Targeted?
Pepe was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor after appearing to headbutt the Leeds United full-back. The incident was not seen by Taylor, but after a VAR review, the Arsenal winger was given a red card.
Arsenal’s club-record signing let his frustrations get the better of him after a poor performance. It was only his second league start of the season, and the red card will not help his case to earn more starts from the off.
The Ivorian has struggled since his move to The Emirates in the summer of 2019. He has failed to hold down a regular place in the starting line-up and is still yet to impress current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
However, that does not excuse the hatred that he nor Alioski have received on social media. According to The Athletic, the abuse was considered to be racist, while Alioski also reportedly received threats aimed towards his family.
‘Will Not Be Tolerated’
In a short statement released on their website, Leeds United said: “The vile abuse directed at Ezgjan Alioski and Nicolas Pepe on social media after yesterday’s Premier League game with Arsenal will not be tolerated by Leeds United.
“We will work closely with the police and the footballing authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and punished.”
The Gunners’ statement followed a similar line, saying: “We utterly condemn the vile abuse directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media following our match against Leeds United.
“This is completely unacceptable and we will be working with the police and authorities to do everything we can to trace and prosecute the culprits.”
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