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'God made us all, God loves us all': Sports Chaplaincy UK joins sporting bodies in social media boycott

Christian charity, Sports Chaplaincy UK has joined football clubs, players and governing bodies in a social media boycott in a bid to tackle online abuse and discrimination this weekend.

The action started at 3 o'clock on Friday, those involved from the sporting world will quit the platforms until Monday night. 

Rev David Chawner, Chair of Sports Chaplaincy UK told Premier about the importance of getting involved: "We've seen some awful stuff, particularly in the racism area, but as I say, across the board, and I don't know whether it's growing, but it's more obvious, and it's not just on social media, but the social media seems to be a particular problem, it hurts, and people are being damaged by it. And we, as a Christian organization, obviously, an organization who values people, God made us all, God loves us all. And therefore we are a value to him and to each other. And therefore, we don't want to see anybody damaged or hurt in any way. So we wanted to join him with this and sort of make our stand together. And so just to say, we stand against this together, but also to say to the social media, folks, come on, pull your finger out, let's do something about it, because I'm sure that more can be done. And at the same time, we need to look at ourselves as well. And the way we address people."

Broadcasters Sky Sports, BT Sport and Talksport and Scottish football clubs are also taking part, along with Rugby clubs and the Rugby Players' Association. Rev David said he's hopeful attitudes will start to change.

"It's very interesting that both Sky and BT on their sports channels have joined in with this and that's a big thing, because that affects advertising and everything else. And you know, that they, they're powerful people to come in behind it. In terms of individuals, it may affect some, others will not take any notice of it, but I think it's a sort of thing that builds isn't it?"

"And you start with one thing and it gradually builds and if you're going to change people's attitudes in society, to change people's behaviour, it doesn't happen overnight. But we've got to be consistent about it and keep plugging away. You know, it's like bringing folks to faith. It doesn't happen overnight, generally, it's just showing that love and that compassion. And that's what we're about. In Sports Chaplaincy UK, our objective is to see an expression of God's love and compassion in every community called sport. And as such, we want to stand with it, because it's not showing love and compassion to anybody this."

Christian charity, Sports Chaplaincy UK, has a network of over 600 chaplains across the UK.

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