Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says he stopped reading comments on social media after he was once told to copy Robert Enke, the German goalkeeper who committed suicide in 2009. He said this in an interview with Sky Sports.
Enke, who played for Hannover 96, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach among other clubs, suffered from depression and took his own life at the age of 32.
After a bad game for his former club Bayer Leverkusen, Leno saw a comment from somebody on social media who told him to ‘do it like Enke’. He says that he no longer looks at social media comments related to his performances as a result of this experience.
Regarding social media, Leno said:
“Of course I have a lot of experience with that, here and also in Germany. There was one thing that kept in my mind, it was crazy.”
“I had a very bad game and then one guy on social media said to me ‘do it like Enke’.”
“Since I read this I realise that there are so many stupid people on social media. That is the reason I don’t read it even when everything is good. I don’t need that, it doesn’t make me better, it is wasting time.”
“There are so many fake people that hide behind their computers to make you feel bad. Many times with racism, abuse to families, I don’t like it, I don’t read it. It affects your life, what is the point?”
Abuse on social media is an ongoing issue and there is yet to be a concrete solution to tackle an absolutely unacceptable challenge that society currently faces. The current system does not hold perpetrators of online abuse accountable for their actions and as a result, this grotesque behaviour continues to exist in the world.
Last wednesday, Instagram announced that it will impose stricter penalties including the removal of accounts in order to put an end to abusive messages on its platform. This announcement comes on the back of a lot of pressure on social media giants after a number of recent cases of racist abuse in football.
We must continue to canvass for stricter rules on social media platforms and real consequences for abusive behaviour in order to root out this problem as there is no place in our world for this kind of conduct.
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