Written by Tom Nixey
Social Media is such a wonderful thing. How else would you be able to view Patrice Evra’s range of costumed ‘Britains Got Talent’ auditions featuring Paul Pogba, see sumptuous Lionel Messi last minute free kicks under two minutes after they’ve happened and interact with people 15 years ago you’d only ever see on a screen? Wonderful.
However, with every great facility we can make use of, there is always a murkier side to it and it’s this murkier side that has had plenty of Notts fans talking in recent times.
About a week ago, after being goaded on Twitter by Notts fans, captain Michael O’Connor finally retorted by asking said user to not be mentioned in tweets and ending his dispatch with ‘dickhead’ – directly aimed at the tweeter. Obviously, this isn’t right. As people it’s wrong to resort to name calling and in his position as captain of the club, O’Connor shouldn’t have posted what he did; 100%. O’Connor by proxy of being a footballer is a role model and his response cannot be accepted. Fans pay very good money to watch Notts and support us within an inch of their lives and that sort of reaction is out of order. That all goes without saying, but after the raft of abuse him and other players have received on Twitter, who is surprised that a reaction was offered?
Let’s go back to the playground. If you pester and annoy another lad in your year, call him this, that and the other and get no reaction; you ramp it up. Purely because you want to see the reaction. Eventually, you say one more thing, he turns round and smashes you in the face and you go off crying to tell; whose fault is that?
Let’s go into town on a Saturday. You’ve had a few shandies and you see a group of lads acting the fool. You stare over a bit, subconsciously pushing your chest out and then you hit shoulders as you walk past each other. You square up, have words, say something inflammatory (I’ll bet a ‘your mum’ line or something about his jumper) and then get dropped; whose fault is that?
Now let’s go back a few days. If you and other fans fire abusive, aggressive and derogatory tweets to an individual and then he sends a message calling one of them a dickhead; whose fault is that? I’m not saying fans aren’t allowed to voice their own opinion – this is exactly the premise I’m exploiting by doing this – but there are ways of doing it and if people choose to do it in this way, then don’t be too surprised by anything that comes out of it. Yes O’Connor is in the wrong for his reply, but it’s not really surprising…
So what this isn’t, is me ‘blaming fans’. What this is, is me saying that fans have every right to air their opinions, voice their concerns and show that their appalled by what’s going on of a Saturday afternoon because frankly, it’s not good enough and something has to be done about it and I am one to voice my opinions – again, what this is all about. What I’m saying is if you goad someone and they turn round and tell you to fuck off, don’t be hugely surprised. You wanted a reaction; you got one.
I’ve heard, read and said plenty about unity in the past couple of weeks; so let’s get on it.
What do you make of players on social media? Should they be allowed to fully express themselves? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by the stadium guide