Thierry Henry has turned his back on social media insisting the time has come for action instead of more talk.
The Arsenal legend told his 2.3million followers on Twitter that the platform, along with Instagram, is being weaponised to bully and spew racial hatred.
An exclusive interview with CNN, Henry said: “I wanted to take a stand and say that it is an important tool that unfortunately some people have turned into a weapon.
“Sometimes it can be colour, sometimes it can be how you look. Sometimes you can be how you dress.
“There are a lot of issues out there. But I was also thinking: ‘Do I wait or do I do something that I feel strongly about, about my kids, about my community and about what’s happening all there?
“There are people coming out with great statements but how do you stop all those comments going on your platform? How do you stop?
“My way was to come out of it until it’s a safe place.
“I’m not against talking. But at the end of the day, you need to deliver.”
Henry’s stand places him on a par with Marcus Rashford who succeeded with his fight to feed the UK’s kids. Also LeBron James who continues to lead the fight against social injustice in the US.
Henry lifted two Premier League titles with Arsenal, where he played between 1999 and 2007, and remains a Premier League legend.
A steady stream of black footballers in English football have suffered social media racism this season alone. While Twitter and Instagram point to their record removing accounts, many still find racist abuse does not breach their guidelines while anything that infringes copyright is quickly taken down.
Henry added: “People are suffering. My community is suffering. Children are suffering. Everyone is suffering. We all know someone that has suffered from abuse on social media in some way, shape or form.
“It is a great tool to communicate. We communicate with everybody – your friends, your family. But can it be a safe place?
“Before I took the decision I phoned my sponsors to let them know, out of courtesy. They were very, very supportive about it. They understand what’s happening. Everyone in the world wants a better, you know, better place to express themselves on social media.”
The move could yet raise the stakes for Twitter and Instagram with superstar Henry the highest profile footballing figure to declare enough is enough.
He added: “Muhammad Ali didn’t want to go to war. He didn’t wait to see if everyone was with him. That’s what he felt, you know? And please, please understand: I’m nowhere near that calibre, nowhere near.
“But I’m not happy with things that are going on with social media.
“Things are a tiny bit tiny bit better in the stadium. But now the problem has moved on social media where people can hide.”