Boxers hit with strict social media orders during coronavirus crisis

‘Engage your brains – set an example’: Boxers are set strict orders to think before they speak on social media after igniting race and domestic violence rows and coronavirus conspiracy theories

  • British boxers have now been warned to restrain themselves on social media 
  • American stars Devin Haney and Terence Crawford were lambasted this week 
  • Haney has been accused of racism while Crawford has given out ill advice 
  • The moves comes in the aftermath of Billy Joe Saunders’ shameful video 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

British boxers have been warned to restrain themselves on social media following controversies inflamed by two US world champions after the suspension of Billy Joe Saunders for posting a domestic violence video.

Devin Haney, for whose WBC lightweight title Hull’s former Olympic champion Luke Campbell is hoping to fight, has ignited a race row by going on record saying: ‘I won’t ever to lose to a white boy,’

Terence Crawford, the multiple world champion whose current WBO welterweight title is a target for Sheffield’s Kell Brook, has fired up disobedience among conspiracy theorists everywhere by calling the coronavirus pandemic ‘a media hoax.’

Devin Haney ignited a race row by going on record saying: ‘I won’t ever to lose to a white boy’

With the Boxing Board of Control still trying to pin down a date and an agreed video-link platform for the Saunders hearing, general secretary Robert Smith says: ‘I would urge all boxers to think before they speak on social media.

‘We expect everyone involved in our sport to conduct themselves responsibly. That includes activity on social media. Boxers are public figures and should set a proper example. They need to engage the brain and consider the consequences for themselves and others before speaking out.

‘They should refrain from insults and inflammatory statements, especially at a time like this.’ Those admonitions form the basis of a social media notice on the BBofC website. How right.

Billy Joe Saunders has had his boxing licence suspended after a leaked WhatsApp video (pictured) showed him telling men how to hit their partners during the coronavirus lockdown

There was a general notice plastered on walls across the country by the government during World War II which read: ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives.’

That placard led a campaign to discourage people from inadvertently giving away information which could be helpful to our enemies.

It becomes relevant again today as we do battle with the coronavirus.

The Saunders video demonstrating how husbands can best knock out wives who annoy them came even as domestic violence cases with their threat to life began to increase alarmingly during the lock-down.

Crawford has risked persuading impressionable thousands among the boxing public to ignore stay-at-home and social-distancing instructions.

To his huge audience of followers in his native Nebraska, where anti-lockdown protests are under way, he is saying: ‘I don’t believe the things we are being told. This is a hoax intended to do something like bring us more under public control. Once the media start, the people follow along.

‘I’m not staying locked indoors. My kids are not staying locked inside. For us its life as normal.’

Terence Crawford insists coronavirus is a hoax and claims to be living his life as normal, despite figures showing thousands dying of the deadly virus each day

Haney’s prejudiced outburst comes as scientists are trying to discern why there is a disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths among the African-American population. In a US interview he says ‘Never in my life will I lose to a white boy. Fight a white boy ten times I’m going to beat him ten times.’

Those remarks were not directed at Campbell. Rather at the great Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko who Crawford would prefer to meet in a super-fight for the unified world championship. He has tried to explain himself with this social media statement: ‘I am not a racist and never will be a racist. I am chasing greatness.’

Believe the first part of that, if you will.

Saunders has tried to laugh off his latest aberration – and thereby avoid his temporary suspension becoming permanent – by saying he was only joking.

There was nothing funny about it, Billy Joe.

Crawford’s apologists have been reduced to arguing that as one of the undefeated greats of modern-day boxing he should be forgiven.

Try telling that to the grieving relatives of coronavirus victims the world over. In Nebraska, even.

There is no excuse for any of them. Not even Haney’s young age of 21. Certainly not in their celebrity, at this time when our real heroes are to be found on the medical front line.

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