CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 CRISIS: STICKS AND STONES

13 February 2021 No Comments by The Northern Standard

“Never have words held so much power.” JACK MADDEN meditates on the ceaseless and often damning social media commentary that is part of life for the modern sportsperson

They have reached the pinnacle. They have worked and they have fought to reach the summit, the peak of their game. For years, they stood atop of the sporting mountain untouched, after engineering their own podium. Now Tim Berners- Lee, Mark Zuckerburg and others have inadvertently built a cable car.

A path to the top, where effort is not required. A golden ticket that makes their sporting idols accessible. Social media is part and parcel of the modern game, whether we like it or not. 2.6 billion people access Facebook each month. Is it any wonder issues exist? Sport without emotion is not sport at all. As fans, we thrive off opinion, off debate. Sport often throws up the impossible, the unthinkable.

With it comes intense discussion among pundits, the press, and online. However, one key element separates the first two from the latter, and that is ethos. Responsibility. Professionalism. Social media is a free for all. A place where anyone is welcome, and anything goes. And where anything goes, people are bound to push the boundaries. Manchester United 9-0 Southampton. One of those score-lines that requires a double-take. Remarkably, it was Saints’ manager Ralph Hassenhuttl’s second Premier League defeat by …

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