When athletes are not recognized as human beings

Death threats, hatred and hate speech: expect football fans to insult and threaten athletes, officials and experts on the Internet.

National basketball player Dennis Schröder received a death wish after Germany’s quarter-final against Greece in the European Championship. After hundreds of insults, expert judges from “Collinas Erben” withdrew from Twitter for the time being. Many users on social media also hate incoming RB Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl, who withdrew from Borussia Mönchengladbach in the spring due to his health condition.

Fan researcher Jonas Gabler doesn’t see the ups and downs of chaos. “I wouldn’t say it’s getting worse or worse. It’s a phenomenon that has been going on since the early days of social media. And with more members, the negative opinion is increasing, », the executive director of the ability group of fans of culture and sports related to social work (Kofas) of the German news agency.

Athletes are recognized as media art figures

“Social media has greatly reduced the scope of expressing one’s emotions. Athletes are often not recognized as people, but as media figures, » added Gabler. According to a study by the University of Leipzig, among 1013 participants, 24 percent of those who were asked from all over society experienced insults, threats or hatred, the university announced at the end of August. Two years ago it was 18 percent.

Athletes are the focus of public attention. And the light invites those who hate to hate. Niklas Schmidt, a midfielder from the Bundesliga football club Werder Bremen, therefore closed the connection: “I withdrew from social media. This is the only way. Now everyone can write what they want without being recognized,” he told NDR. Werder defender Mitchell Weiser has also had to listen to a lot of gossip after moving from Leverkusen to Bremen and therefore withdrew temporarily.

Teammate Niclas Füllkrug found a solution for himself: “It can hit some people mentally, so I try to keep it in the limit and not move there.” Some players are building their future for later with their online presence – and can’t do without it. “For many people, it’s an opportunity to create a community that you can later – if you rely on it – make money,” Füllkrug said.

One thing is clear: there is not only hatred. But even though there are many good comments, the bad comments tend to stick. or the number of attacks is unbearable. The creator of the Twitter account “Collinas Erben” has reached the level of endurance from the point of view of expert referees. After analyzing Handball in the Bundesliga game between Hertha BSC and Leverkusen, the producer received more than 200 insults.

To the anger of many fans, the expert pulled the trigger and took a break from Twitter. Will they come back? Open. “If you read for the 220th time that you are incompetent, son of a liar, ignorant, heard deleted or DFB crawling in the ass, then at some point it will be too much,” co-founder Alex Feuerherdt. Tell Deutschlandfunk.

Stars withdraw from the network

In the past, experts like Toni Kroos and Niklas Süle drew attention to hate and bullying on the Internet. In the video they report the slanderous message. With former Arsenal professional Thierry Henry, the big star withdrew from the Internet last year and complained about racism and harassment with a boycott.

There was even a social media boycott in English football in the same year. But it is not sustainable. After England’s defeat in the final of the European Championship, players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to verbal abuse in the months following after failing to score a penalty. As a result, some users were arrested and later convicted.

Werders Füllkrug hopes to find a solution to the online exhaustion problem at some point. He has one suggestion ready: “Maybe the topic should be considered in the topic of the school, how the media behaves and what to do with the public.”

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