Too many parents in English football are suffering the pain of Nigel James.
The father of Chelsea ’s Reece and Manchester United ’s Lauren is yet another rendered helpless in the face of the racist abuse from which they cannot shield their children.
Both players received online abuse within a week of each other, between the end of January and the first week of this month.
Beyond condemnation there is nothing that their clubs can do while the social media companies continue to stick their heads in the sand.
Instead Nigel, along with the other parents in – and outside – the Premier League, is resigned to rising above it, in order to ensure that it doesn’t consume his family.
Speaking to The Conv3rsation podcast, he said: “You do want to fight back. And when you hear something about your child it hurts you. You feel anger and there is nothing you can do about that.
“That's the real painful thing about it. The fact that, you know, you speak to your children, you give them all the support, as you've done for years.
“And yet you’re sort of in limbo. What do you do? Who's going to help you? Who's going to support them? What do you do? What do we do about this?”
Reece shared a screenshot of the monkey emojis and the messages referring to his “dirty black skin on Instagram ” earlier this month.
Lauren, who also received emojis, labelled the taunts directed at her as “boring" and called on Instagram to deal with the issue.
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Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – whose side face Southampton on Saturday – responded by writing to every player at the club, expressing his solidarity and promising to commit more funds to the fight against racism.
United recently issued a joint statement with rivals City and both Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton, hitting out at the lethargy of the social media companies.
None of that helps Nigel who is left to pick up the pieces each time his children are targeted.
“I'm still looking at it right now and to have the double blow of having your son receiving it and then your daughter receiving it,” he said.
“You're looking and you’re thinking to yourself: ‘What is this all about? What, what have they done to deserve this?
“I'm still in shock. And the only way for me to deal with it is to try to push it aside. Because you're looking at it thinking: ‘What's gonna happen, who's going to deal with this?”
The response from Facebook, which owns Instagram, has been a predictable one, from claims it is working with players, clubs and the football authorities to the old truisms about racism having no place in our society.
In the meantime the James family will continue dealing with it in their own way.
“Yes, we do try and push it aside. As if it's not happening," Nigel added. “That's the way that we try to deal with it as a family – my son and my kids.
"Because it's like, you keep talking about it and the authorities are not doing anything about it. Eventually, you don't want it to start affecting your kids.
“That starts going into their performances and everything else in life. So it’s something that we've just tried to dust off and move forward.
"And I don't know if that's the right thing to do, but if I’m going to protect them then sometimes we have to deal with it like that.”
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