The Alan Turing Institute’s new report confirming a significant amount of online content aimed towards footballers is abusive is disappointing but not surprising.
The report revealed Ronaldo and Maguire to be the most abused players online, in terms of the Premier League, but it only highlights what Connor Goldson said yesterday about John Souttar, who has been subject to abuse online from some Rangers fans.
Goldson himself was at the receiving end more than once, and while our opinion of the defender on Ibrox Noise isn’t the most praising these days, one thing we absolutely defend him on is his or anyone else’s receipt of foul content from trolls.
Ibrox Noise gets it too – it’s not as bad as some players get it, either that or we have thick skins, but if top Rangers players get it, including from our own supporters, a fansite like Ibrox Noise is a million miles away from being immune as well.
The abuse isn’t going to stop – there are some horrible people out there who enjoy sending poisonous, vitriolic messages to footballers, websites, you name it – anyone they can, really.
And unfortunately, as we said yesterday, our fanbase is no different – there are plenty in our support who will happily slaughter our players, just like there’s thousands slaughtering Ronaldo and Maguire in the Utd support.
And as we also said, to survive at Rangers through adversity, as Souttar is enduring at present, you need to show the mental strength to withstand the abuse and prove them not only wrong, but silence them.
Lundstram did it, Barisic did it, Aribo did it – fans can be won over by great performances and commitment.
But that abuse, sadly, is part of the game – systemic social change would be needed to alter that, and it’ll take many decades to eradicate it.
We’d appeal to our readers to stop abusing us, to stop abusing Souttar, and to the wider audience to stop abusing anyone, frankly.
But while the majority are good and welcome on our platforms, that ugly minority won’t listen and pleas fall on deaf ears.
The funny thing is, the majority of them don’t think they’re part of the abusive group, and will justify their vile comments as ‘merited’ or ‘fair’.
And if they don’t even think they’re doing anything wrong, what chance do we have?