Footballers should stop complaining about social media by ThirdManJW
So-called “verbal abuse” can affect anyone, it’s not just confined to the realm of football or Arsenal players, but one can understand its unique relationship within the sport, and its fans. For well over a hundred years footballers will have been called every name under the sun from fans in the stands, with the vast majority of it being justified, and acceptable. It comes with the territory when you’re a public figure, especially in a sport where fans have just paid to see a decent performance/effort. Of course, there has always been a minority faction of unacceptable racist, and vile personal abuse, but that has almost been eradicated on match days what with harsher punishments (life bans from attending games), and because of the general social construct.
We keep hearing the term “abuse” a lot in regards to this topic, which is not correct. It’s verbal abuse! The distinction between the two must be made, as there is a big difference. I mention this because in today’s PC culture, many conflate criticism/discourse with abuse/hate speech. E.g. Any public conversation about the obvious concerns of men competing in womans sports, is immediately shut down under the basis of trans-phobia. Which is ridiculous! If a celebrity says they are a republican, they get hit with terms like: Nazi, or white supremacist (even if they are black). People go to the absolute extreme when name calling these days, and it’s having a detrimental effect on how we think, speak, and how big tech, and the media are reshaping society. People are now becoming scared of saying or hearing ANY critical thought.
I have seen this even on here on JustArsenal. Ozil has been criticized a lot, and rightly so given his performances, although too much over the last year as he wasn’t even playing, and I noticed that some fans genuinely believed Ozil was being “abused”. Criticism is NOT abuse. It is that simple! Of course, we have seen a small number of comments that really are vile, or racist, across all forms of social media, and the internet at large, but they do not represent the majority.
Now that we have established that criticism is not the same as verbal abuse, and we have an understanding of the PC/snowflake culture we reside in, one can easily disregard, interpret and/or cope with such words. The next thing that we all need to realize is that despite how nice you are, how much charity work you do, etc, one also needs to accept that trolls will exist on social media. These types of people are only interested in winding you up, and saying horrific things about/to you, and your family.
— Just Arsenal News (@JustArsenal) February 24, 2021
These problems have existed on social media for long enough now that an adult should know what they are getting themselves into when joining social media. At local/national level, public figures are already open enough as it is to ridicule, criticism, praise, etc, without the social media platforms that just amplify the numbers by taking you international.
Not only is an individual more open to verbal abuse than ever before, it’s also easier to be verbally abused. In many cases, abusers will have anonymity. Hiding behind a fake account, thus allowing them to say whatever they want.
So, as much as I agree that it’s horrible reading horrific comments about you, or your family, I have little sympathy for adult footballers who engage with social media. If you can’t handle criticism from the stands, why on earth would you go on social media? Even if you need it in your life, why read the comments? This so-called abuse is easily solved by avoiding these platforms, and avoiding the comments. The counter-argument would be, why should someone be forced off social media by these trolls? What if that person enjoys the interaction with the majority of their fans, so why should they be the one being punished by leaving?
Obviously, we want people punished for crimes, but unfortunately, sometimes the bad guys win, especially on something as vast as the internet/social media. That’s life! Although a tiny minority have been prosecuted for racism, and more have been suspended/de-platformed, policing the entirety of the internet/social media is an impossible task! And these are just words on a screen. Maybe hurtful to some, but nothing compared to being verbally abused face-to-face.
Whilst I have little sympathy for an adult using social media, it is extremely important that children from a very young age are educated in the dangers of using these platforms. There have been many cases of children self-harming, and even suicide, from online bullying. That is horrible for anyone at any age, but more so for children, who won’t have the mental capacity to fully deal with these issues. Not only is social media education vital, I would go as far as to say that we should be teaching children that you do not even need social media. We have enough narcissists as it is already!
If an adult footballer is going to insist on using social media, then can they please stop complaining about it, because they should know what it’s about by now! It’s like drinking too much alcohol, then blaming the drinks industry when your liver packs up. Social media, like smoking, like processed food, like alcohol, is just poison to your body. You only have yourself to blame if you are going participate in such things.