Leinster hurling championship-winning Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald has issued an emotional plea to online trolls and anonymous critics to desist from their dangerous actions.
The Clare man, who has spoken openly in the past about being ‘bullied badly when I was in secondary school’, claimed that cyber-bullying of players is a serious problem now.
Speaking to 2FM’s Game On after competing at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open pro-am at Lahinch, Fitzgerald called on the Government to intervene as a matter of urgency.
The Sixmilebridge man stopped short of detailing specific instances of trolling of his players but claimed that it is a major issue which needs to be tackled.
“I’d just encourage supporters, please, life is too short, we don’t need to be cutting people, there’s too much stuff going on out there in life to be that negative,” said Fitzgerald.
Asked if he has noticed an increase in online abuse of young players, the 2013 All-Ireland winning Clare manager and ex-Waterford chief said he has.
“The online stuff I’m dead against, you have a lot of cowardly people that don’t put their names to stuff,” he said.
“I don’t understand it, there’s no need for it. Listen, we’re all human at the end of the day. We’re all going to make mistakes. You don’t need it and I think our Government have to take a look at the laws that are there.
“I would encourage them, the sooner the better, that we take a grip of this stuff and don’t allow anonymous people do that. I think we have to look at the law seriously as regards that.”
Fitzgerald referenced Michael O’Brien, a visually impaired youngster whom he has befriended, during his press conference after last Sunday’s win over Kilkenny at Croke Park.
Fitzgerald has used his role in Gaelic games generally over the years to engage with people with illnesses and disabilities.
“Cyber-bullying is massive out there,” he said. “Life is short enough, we have enough of things to go through in life without having that craic. It really bothers me. I’m one of these people, I get to see people who aren’t that well and you know what, my God, it would make you realise what life is actually about.”