Truthfully, I was in the middle of writing a completely different post but had to stop because I saw this tweet emerge on my timeline:
It broke my heart a little AND this needed to be said.
Vancouver, you and me, we are better than this. We are better than sending harassing messages to an opposing player and his family. Yes, we all hated the hit and ensuing injury to Elias Pettersson but that does NOT in any way justify the treatment that has been directed towards Matheson and his family. It also does NOT in any way justify the hate that has also been slung towards Canucks players by “fans” of the team for their response or lack of response to the aforementioned hit depending on how you look at the situation. Either way, those messages of hate and death threats being directed at Matheson and Canucks players are all kinds of wrong.
We are better than sending harassing messages and threats to players on an opposing team and we are better than sending harassing messages to players on our own team. That is a whole new level of wrong that I cannot even begin to fathom. It’s heartbreaking.
Social media can be a great tool for fans of the game to connect with each other and share that bond. It’s also a great tool that can connect fans with their team and players from their team. But that fun is gone instantly when someone takes it too far sending threats and continual harassment that can cause real harm. It affects more than those who send the tweet and those who receive the tweet/messages, and very quickly can spiral farther than ever intended. Words are a powerful thing and can leave an indelible mark.
Do we want that mark from fans in Vancouver to be one that drives players away from ever wanting to play here knowing that the fans will treat them this way? Or do we want that mark to one to be one that creates a bond between the fans and the team that is strong, drawing players to want to be here? I know which one I’m aiming for.
I’m going to say this plain and simple: harassing ANYONE online let alone a hockey player is NEVER a good idea. And I get that there will be chirping back and forth but taking it the level of death threats and sending harassing messages is not chirping or in good fun.
Vancouver, you are better than this. We are better than this.
As always, until next time, nuck said.