Abuse of Mikel: Shameful

Twitter is a wonderful creation for the most part. As a source of information on what you value, there is nothing better. It’s also a gr...

Twitter is a wonderful creation for the most part. As a source of information on what you value, there is nothing better. It’s also a great instrument for letting yourself be heard if that’s what you want out of it. It can be used in a social manner too, however this social element can have a rather nasty side to it. We have just seen an example of this with Mikel being forced to shut down his account after the sheer volume of abuse he received, some of it racial.

This is not the first time a player has been abused and it certainly won’t be the last. Darron Gibson opened up a twitter account while at Manchester United and had to close it again in a matter of hours after he received similar abuse, and I think we all remember that occasion when Eboue was booed so heavily that Wenger had to sub him just minutes after putting him on: 

My first emotion with regards to Mikel is pity. The poor, poor guy. After everything he has achieved at the club and following multiple match winning performances towards the end of last season (a certain Champions League final comes to mind!); he makes one mistake in a goal conceded due to collective error, something he immediately apologised for, and the world just exploded around him. Mikel played for us while his farther was being held to ransom. He deserves so much more respect and appreciation than he gets, even if you exclude this fiasco. Nobody deserves it, in or outside of football.

My second emotion is anger. Anger at these 'fans' (and this is the strongest possible use of air quotations I could ever make) who sit behind their computer screens insulting him in every kind of way imaginable. Some people seem to argue that this equals fair criticism which therefore makes it acceptable; it doesn’t. Criticism takes place between pundits, friends and on forums and makes observations that are needed for analysis and that are often constructive. This abuse of Mikel is in no way constructive, will not lead to him playing better and will make him feel more terrible than I am likely able to fathom. On top of that, the minority of idiots who took part in this have made the rest of us fans (air quotations removed) look filthy. We all know that as always it was a small proportion of our 'fans', yet no doubt many will still condemn Chelsea followers in general. On a more positive note, the support he has received from the rest of us over the internet has been impressive and I hope he takes that on board.

We may possibly be talking about the player that splits Chelsea fans more than any other, but this isn’t an “is Mikel good at football?” article. That can be addressed, and has been addressed, on other occasions. However I will say this. I was surprised at the general consensus that he played badly against Juventus. Indeed he intercepted the ball nine times, more than any other player in the first round of matches in the Champions League. There were mistakes of course but the idea that he had a bad game seemed harsh to me (and I know people will contest that). What I mean by this point is that while the main focus of this blog is to condemn the abuse he received on twitter, I was also surprised that this was the moment some 'fans' chose to do so, even if they believed he alone was responsible for the equaliser.

Interestingly Chelsea quickly came out and claimed that Mikel shut down his account for separate reasons that were unrelated to this. However I would not give much value to that claim. It’s likely they were trying to defend the reputation of the fans, and the footballing talent / public image of the player. This is arguably irrelevant anyway because regardless of whether Mikel was upset by this abuse or not, he still received it, which is still disgusting. It consuls me a little to think that Chelsea might be telling the truth, but I doubt it.

Today is Saturday; it’s football day *hi-fives the stranger in the seat next to him on the train*! I hope to see support for Mikel at the Bridge later today.

(follow me on twitter: @cody_bound)


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