Be Kind? Be quiet more like
The world of social media was awash with tributes and posts of sadness over the death of TV presenter Caroline Flack at the weekend before the focus turned to the subject of online abuse and cyber bullying.
One tweet on the subject for me and it came from now former Elite League referee Tom Darnell, who posted two tweets in actual fact.
His first tweet read: “The absolute state of social media, the tabloid press and social commentators. You build them up, you knock them down, you pile in on them, then you pay tributes to them. Absolute vultures.”
Then added: “Also, if you “liked” my last tweet, but up until a few weeks ago spent your weekend tweeting me about what a p**** I was, kindly go stick said “like” up your a**.”
It said it all for me about the culture of being able to say what you like about people online without the likely consequences it has on people when it becomes personal.
It seems what happened to the tragic Ms Flack was the constant media scrutiny about her private life and the coverage she unfairly got because she attacked her boyfriend.
I’m in no way condoning what she was accused of, but the fact that her life and every mistake she made was played out so publicly had to have been a contributory factor in why she took her own life.
Now, what Tom was highlighting in his excellent tweet was the hypocrisy of those paying tribute and attacking the media for what happened to Flack while not seeing the irony in posting equally vile and horrible insults to people when it comes to referees in the EIHL.
I’ve always been an advocate of referees and given my support to the job they do. I couldn’t do it and while I don’t always agree with their calls, I’ve certainly never been so enraged to post something vile or personal about them on social media.
In my opinion, if watching a sport drives you to make you do something like that because a decision has gone against you, then you shouldn’t be watching it.
Referees are made of thick skin and a lot of it goes over their heads. After all, if they actually cared what @Hockeyfan32532 thought of their ability to officiate an ice hockey game, then they wouldn’t be doing it.
Tom is one who has kept his powder dry for years after taking a barrage of abuse from the sort of fans happy to dish out behind the comfort of their keyboards and now he’s no longer bound by the Elite League, it’s allowed him to give a bit back.
I’ve had abuse as well for articles I’ve written and tweets I’ve posted although certainly not to the extent Tom had and I, truthfully, don’t care what people write about me.
But it can hurt others as well and while Tom and some of his former colleagues may not pay much heed to the nonsense, it’s bound to upset wives, partners and even children.
I’m not going to be one of those telling each other to “Be Kind”, but at least show some restraint before you make a fool of yourself and understand the possible consequences. Or better yet, don’t bother and grow up.
…and then there was five
Sheffield Steelers crash to the two teams at the bottom of the table, Cardiff Devils the victims of Crooks in Guildford and Belfast toppled by Nottingham. My goodness, what a title race we have now!
I remember the reaction I got a few weeks ago when I put forward Andrew Lord as Coach of the Year, mainly by Sheffield fans who thought I was being unfair on Aaron Fox for leading Steelers’ revival this season.
Not taking away from him or the great job he’s done this season, but with four straight losses and a lead cut to three points, not to mention Devils’ four games in hand, Steelers once lofty position isn’t looking too sure.
Then there’s the emergence of Nottingham Panthers into the equation, winning four of their last five while Giants have stumbled with defeats to Cardiff and to Nottingham yesterday.
Dare we even mention fifth placed Coventry Blaze, seven points from the top spot and run of eight wins from their last 11, plus taking a point from those three losses, making it 19 points from a possible 22.
With six weeks to go, we’re going to see some of the most nerve-racking games this league has ever produced. Brilliant, isn’t it?