Social media criticism of refs ‘unacceptable’

The Donegal and Derry county boards have strongly defended their actions against players for criticism of referees on social media.

Social media criticism of refs ‘unacceptable’

Ballinderry’s Aaron Devlin was banned for 48 weeks for an abusive post about a match official in the aftermath of October’s Derry football final, while Sean MacCumhaills’ player David White had a similar ban cut to 24 after appeal following his online comments about a match official in the Ardara-Naomh Conaill game.

In his annual report, Donegal secretary Aodh Máirtín Ó Fearraigh wrote there were other instances of unacceptable remarks on social media that were addressed by the county board. “Disciplinary action had to be initiated against several members and units for comments posted on social media this year. Warnings were issued to members and to some clubs as well, because of inappropriate comments posted on social media.

“I wish to bring to your attention an extract from the GAA Social Media Guidelines: The GAA respects your right to use these media platforms in a personal capacity, but we would ask that you remember the implications of referring to the GAA when you do.”

Derry secretary Danny Scullion didn’t refer to their treatment of Devlin specifically but was of a similar mind about the treatment of referees: “Unfortunately, there were instances when referees, match officials, stewards and members of the county board were verbally and physically abused.

“For the good of Gaelic games, the attitude of some players, mentors and clubs needs to change.”

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