Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford says he was subjected to “humanity and social media at its worst” after receiving racist abuse on Saturday.
The 22-year-old, who was awarded the MBE for his work fighting child food poverty, received multiple racist messages on Instagram on Saturday.
They were sent to the England striker after United’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal.
“I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am,” he said on Twitter.
“No-one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it here.
“I’m not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there’s nothing original in them.
“I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated.”
In a statement released on Sunday, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was aware that a number of Manchester United players had suffered abuse on social media between Wednesday and Saturday.
It added: “Nobody should be subject to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only to those who suffer it, but to all those who come across this awful language too.
“These hateful words have no place anywhere in our society whether online or otherwise.”
GMP also added that a number of comments had been reported, that it was “working with those involved to provide support” and that it would be “investigating these crimes thoroughly”.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, also released a statement after Rashford’s abuse. It said: “We have taken action in this case by removing accounts and comments and are continuing to investigate.”
Speaking on Match of the Day, former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright said the authorities and social media companies need to do more to identify the perpetrators.
He said: “It seems to be a fact if a black player plays poorly – or they think they did – they come with all the emojis and whatever. There are ways of being able to catch people. They’re not vigilant enough, nowhere near.
“It should be something they’re doing hand in hand [authorities and social media sites]. But how much do they care deep down?”
Former Tottenham, Newcastle and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas added: “The platforms, I need them to show me these people and say they’re doing everything they can to bring some justice. For those asking why we are still taking the knee, there you go.”
The Football Association had reiterated its commitment to clamping down on discrimination of all kinds earlier on Saturday.
“We are united with all of football in our abhorrence of any racist abuse,” read an FA statement. “This is not acceptable in any part of society.
“We will continue to work with the rest of the game, the government and social media platforms to remove this – and all elements of – discrimination from our sport.”
On Friday Chelsea said they were “disgusted” after right-back Reece James was racially abused on social media.
On Saturday a man was arrested after a racist message was sent to West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers.
Rashford’s team-mates Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were racially abused on social media after the defeat by Sheffield United on Wednesday.
On Monday, the UK government held talks with current and former footballers about tackling discrimination and abuse.
On Friday a spokesperson for Facebook said: “There is no place for racism on Instagram and we are committed to removing it when we find it. We know there is more to do and we will continue to work closely with clubs, players and football authorities to investigate instances of discrimination and collectively tackle this issue.”
Twitter said in a statement: “Racist behaviour has no place on our service and when we identify accounts that violate any of the Twitter Rules, we take enforcement action.
“We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our valued partners in football to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour – both online and offline.”