Ex-Sunderland boss Steve Bruce recounts conversation with son Alex on social media abuse at Newcastle United
Steve Bruce has experienced the worst of social media in his managerial career.
Newcastle United’s head coach, however, has also reason to be thankful for social media – having got his dog back thanks to an online appeal.
Bruce supports the social media blackout this weekend which will see leagues, clubs, players and other sporting organisations stay off Twitter, Facebook and other platforms from 3pm today until 11.59pm on Monday.
The protest is aimed at forcing social media companies to tackle racism and abuse online.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: "Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable, and the appalling abuse we are seeing players receive on social media platforms cannot be allowed to continue."
Bruce isn’t on any social media channels, but his family has been subjected to abuse, and his son Alex, a retired football with a large following on Twitter, recently showed him some of the messages that had been aimed at him.
"They have had (abuse online), and some of it is disgusting, I have to tell you,” said Bruce, speaking ahead of Sunday’s home game against Arsenal. “I was talking with my son over the referee, and he said ‘Dad, that’s nothing compared to what you get’.
"He showed me bits of it, which was, like, ‘wow'. People shouldn't be allowed to write those sort of things. It shouldn’t be posted over a social platform.
“But also, on the flip side of social media, I got my dog back after it ran away from a firework display. I didn’t think I was ever going to get her back. We used social media to send a message.
"It's got really, really good parts, but, as I’ve said repeatedly, I really worry for vulnerable people who haven’t got the mental strength to let it go.
"It affects people, especially younger people. So I’m all for the ban. I’m all for highlighting it, because I believe we should all be accountable.”
Bruce added: “I worry about social media, not just for the racist stuff, which is disgusting, but for young people. For me the world’s a better place without it, but I understand it has its benefits too.”