When does criticism of a player become abuse?

Players, particularly in the Premier League are always open to criticism.

It’s a fact of life in sport, that when you are a high profile athlete, you’re going to get criticism.

Football teams have hundreds of thousands if not millions of fans around the world and almost all of them have access to social media. This gives them access to their team’s players like never before.

Sometimes that interaction can be healthy, but in other cases, it can be downright disturbing.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 12: QPR fans shout abuse at Oscar of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea at Loftus Road on April 12, 2015 in London, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY PAUL GILHAM/GETTY IMAGES.

Threats to players wives and children, of death and violence. Sometimes it’s people sending messages wishing diseases like cancer on players.

And why is this?

Because they’ve made a mistake that’s cost or in some cases hasn’t even cost a football match. Footballers are like any other person, no matter how famous. They have vulnerabilities and in some cases even have serious mental health issues.

One of the many players who has copped criticism recently is Liverpool’s reserve goalkeeper, Adrian. After a series of high profile errors against the likes of Atletico Madrid, Aston Villa and Chelsea there are a large group of supporters who want him out of the club.

That in itself is fine, of course, Liverpool have a recent history of disappointing goalkeepers outside of Alisson Becker.

However, messages such as the above are not exactly what you’d call fair criticism.

Danny Rose, Aaron Lennon and Jordon Ibe are just three who have opened up on their mental health issues.

Some say that footballers open themselves up to this kind of criticism by having such a high profile image.

However, when the consequences can be depression, or something even more serious.

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