Racist behavior against athletes is getting worse and even anti-racist software has little effect on the tennis player Sloane Stephens said Monday.
Stephens, speaking after her victory Carolina Pliskowa in the first round of the French Open, she said she had to endure it her entire career.
“Yeah, that’s obviously been a problem my entire career,” said Stephens, who is black. “It never ended. If anything, it’s only gotten worse.”
Stephens, the 30th ranked player in the world, did not go into details, but said that even software such as the one available to players at the French Open, which is designed to block racist comments on social media, cannot stop it.
“I heard about the software. I didn’t use it,” she said. “I have a lot of obviously Instagram banned keywords and all that stuff, but that doesn’t stop someone from typing an asterisk or typing it in some other way, which of course the software misses most of the time.”
Vinicius was targeted for racist chants at ValenciaMestalla Stadium last week, and his complaints about Spain and LaLiga not doing enough to fight racism sparked a worldwide wave of support and a national debate in Spain.
Stephens said racism had reached alarming levels.
“I mean, obviously when there’s an FBI investigation into what people say to you online, it’s very serious,” she said.
Stephens did not say if she was referring to a specific case.
“Obviously, it was something I’ve dealt with my entire career,” she said. “I think like I said it’s getting worse and people online are free to say and do whatever they want behind fake sites which is obviously very embarrassing.
“It’s something I’ve had to deal with my entire career and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so. That’s all”.