Dapo Afolayan fears that people are becoming “too comfortable” using racist and abusive language on social media.
The Wanderers winger found himself targeted after scoring two goals in the 5-2 win at Ipswich Town, a matter which has quickly been picked up by Suffolk Police and the EFL.
It followed a similar incident the previous week involving Elias Kachunga, and comes at a time when the footballing authorities have called upon social media platforms to tighten up their stance on such abuse.
Afolayan feels there has been a recent societal shift which has accelerated the problem.
“Whether it’s social media or in general life, one of the things that has happened in the last few years is that people become braver saying things,” he told The Bolton News. “It isn’t something that has just come about, I think people are being made to feel comfortable saying these things.
“It happened on Friday night in the Barrow game to someone I know (Shamal George). You shouldn’t have to face that.”
Many – including Wanderers boss Ian Evatt – have called for tighter controls on how individuals register for social media accounts, which would remove some of the anonymity which currently exists.
Others argue that vulnerable groups could suffer as a result and that it could damage the access to social media in certain countries and cultures.
Afolayan hopes that talking about the issue and highlighting what is not acceptable can still improve things – but admits he is concerned about the recent trend.
“Identification is a tricky one because there are so many laws and reasons why it is hard for them, the Government and us in football,” he said. “They can do more, but I think it’s about us as a society and educating people that it isn’t right.
“You can’t let people feel comfortable doing it because it is rising and the amount of coverage it gets seems to continue. Nothing is happening.”
Internally, Wanderers offer full support to any player targeted, and Afolayan says the reaction to Elias Kachunga’s story last week said a lot about the culture of Wanderers as a club.
“I spoke to the manager about it on Friday and to Kacha,” he said. “It’s something that is silly and it needs to be kicked out of the game. It is too easy for people to use it as an excuse and a go-to.
“I have said it in my own life, it only tends to happen when you are doing something well and people can’t find any find anything else bad to say about you. They will try and find something to hurt you.
“I think it is disgraceful and more has to be done about it. “We have had meetings with the Greater Manchester Police about how they are going to deal with it as a squad, going forwards. They were good and acted swiftly with what happened to Kacha.
“Everyone from the manager to Sharon at the top, we know we have got their support, no matter what happens. We stick by each other.”