Lukaku wants US businesses to visit him in sports anti-bullying campaign

• Manchester United striker wants to ‘set good example for kids’ • He wants Dave Thomas, YouTube’s co-founder and co-chairman, to listen The Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has called for the head of…

Lukaku wants US businesses to visit him in sports anti-bullying campaign

• Manchester United striker wants to ‘set good example for kids’ • He wants Dave Thomas, YouTube’s co-founder and co-chairman, to listen

The Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has called for the head of every footballing corporation to visit him as part of a campaign to end violent behaviour on social media.

Play Video 1:20 Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku launches campaign to curb violence in football – video

He hopes a collaborative effort between him, the sports icon Eric Cantona and the sporting director at Manchester City, Txiki Begiristain, will reach the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.

“I’m sure that if they meet me, they will see, because I’m a target for a lot of young boys to take a few steps,” the 24-year-old Belgium international told a press conference at the United States national team’s training base.

“They can be looking at me, for example, and going, ‘well, well, maybe I should not start a fight or something like that.’ So what they saw from me is something that I want to speak about.”

Lukaku is to lead a public education campaign focusing on safe social media use among children, which will aim to prevent violence, bullying and suicide among the youth of America.

The campaign, called Be Yourself, will be launched on Wednesday and build from a grass-roots level of three cities – New York, Chicago and Philadelphia – to a network of basketball players, athletes and influencers, whom Lukaku dubbed the “Be Yourself ambassador corps”.

“Every single one of us, male and female athletes, actors, [political figures], athletes, you have to do something to give back because this is what we have, these opportunities to give back to the kids that are sitting there or studying and wants to become an Olympian or an NFL player or a WWE wrestler,” Lukaku said.

“The more we do these things, the more we give back to these kids, the more the world changes.”

Lukaku has openly advocated the importance of educating young children about respecting one another and bullying, after they hear examples of negative attitudes or situations they could have been part of while growing up.

“For me, personally, a lot of people [in the campaign] have bad memories when they’re little. Not all. Some guys, they grow up. Some kids that they watch and, you know, some things they see, they pick it up. I want to go to kids, try to educate them about living life with peace, so when they see situations or hear situations or get bullied or something like that, they go, ‘man, I’ve got to step in now.’ That’s why I’m taking this initiative, and I’m happy to be part of this.”

When asked if he had anything he could do to improve his own example, Lukaku said: “My example is not bad, at all. I’m a good example for children, in this campaign.

“I’m not saying I’m perfect all the time. I’m still learning, so hopefully I can keep going and other kids can do the same thing and enjoy life. Have fun and not have things turn bad, have bad memories.”

Ahead of the campaign launching, Lukaku had said he would apologise to anyone who says things to him that he considered to be wrong.

In a video released on Tuesday night, the video showed him addressing a crowd of people before football training in Manchester.

“Every time, if I can help my children, help anybody,” he said. “I feel ashamed sometimes when I see kids fight on social media or something.”

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