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Why we should be extra careful with what we say online

Social media, for the most part has been a groundbreaking invention that has allowed people across the world to interact from the comfort of their own homes.

We are able to communicate with friends, family and anyone else through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and before their declines, myspace and Messenger.

But in the eyes of some, the use of social media has allowed those to express feelings and thoughts in a negative manner. And in the world of sport, there’s usually someone or something on the receiving end of this ‘abuse’.

Quite frankly, it’s downright disgusting.

To hide behind a keyboard and post things you wouldn’t say to or someone if they were standing right in front of you is a true act of cowardice. And deservedly, it’s universally condemned.

But it’s easy to take this perspective when you’re fortunate enough to not be the subject of online abuse and vitriol.

For those who play sport at a professional level and for clubs with significant fan bases, it can be quite scary to read things that people around the world say about you.

With the stakes they play for being so high, any level of failure is met with a knee-jerk reaction by those online. And with such easy access to the aforementioned platforms, it’s hard for professional athletes to see the bright side.

Some athletes do see the bright side, knowing that what’s said online rarely translates to what’s said in real life. A great example of this is through the popular TV segment, Mean Tweets.

Hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, high profile people are made to read derogatory tweets directed at them, with most of them expressing laughter at the stupidity of what’s said.

Here’s a couple of examples of the segment.

But then there’s the other side of the equation, those who do get affected by what people say.

Often, these comments left online can be quite upsetting and sometimes, those on the receiving end don’t take it well. And despite there being those who can cop the abuse, some have different perspectives.

These comments, whether they’re made online or from the stands, are dragging the game of soccer down and it’s a real shame.

Back in 2017, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren played a poor game against Tottenham Hotspur in a 4-1 loss. Following the game, Lovren’s family members were threatened purely based on his performance.

You could be the most soulless person on this planet and still find that kind of comment disgraceful.

Briefly on Tottenham, left-back Danny Rose was diagnosed with depression in 2018. He seems to have put it behind him after becoming a first team regular for Tottenham this season.

Granted, Rose has admitted that injuries played a part in his depression during a BBC video that went online this year (can be found below in full), but it goes to show something.

We may see them as these worldwide superstars who can do anything. But in reality, they’re just like us.

Human.

https://twitter.com/gregjames/status/1130180754112176129

Some may think that these comments don’t have any affect, but they do.

Mental health is one of the biggest problems surrounding soccer players and athletes around the globe because people think that they can say anything and get away with it.

They say these things for numerous reasons. Their performances on the field, as we know. It can be down to their appearance and personality (see above video for Peter Crouch). But there’s one other factor.

The fact that most of these players are millionaires.

Footballers get paid lots of money and there is a select group that think because of this, they should never be sad in their lives. Purely because they’re a bit wealthier than most folk.

To rebut these opinions, there is only one thing that needs to be said.

Money can’t buy happiness.

So before you send that tweet, Facebook post or whatever it is, put yourselves in their shoes.

How would you feel seeing someone say that about you? Because in life, you should only treat people the way you want to be treated.

And it’s time that we stamp the abuse out, whether it’s racism, sexism or general oppression. Because whatever it is, it has no place in sport or in life. Anywhere.

 

 

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

In the Cluch: Meet the team powering NPL.TV

NPL.TV

Coronavirus, lockdowns and associated crowd caps have brought forward the sports streaming industry three or five years, according to Cluch Managing Director Gus Seebeck.

With Cluch powering the NPL.TV platform in 2022, the organisation will be live streaming in excess of 100 football matches from around the country once the Victorian, New South Wales, South Australia and ACT branches of the National Premier Leagues competitions are all up and running.

Speaking ahead of last night’s National Premier Leagues Victoria clash between South Melbourne and Heidelberg United, Seebeck outlined a rise of sports streaming at the semi-professional level has been propelled forward due to the circumstances of recent years.

“A lot of community clubs and organisations have had to deal with tight crowd restrictions has probably seen this space propel forward three-to-five years in terms of how quickly it’s been adopted,” he told Soccerscene.

“Football fans now have a multitude of choice in terms how they get their content and expectations have increased for the quality of that, which I think is quite reasonable.”

Cluch launched in August 2020, in between the first and second wave of COVID-19 and associated lockdowns and was mainly streaming community sports in New South Wales at the time of its launch.

However, that window activity proved crucial in empowering the platform to grow.

“It was really critical in terms of us being able to get some proven data and a little bit of a look at what’s possible with this technology and the opportunities it can provide,” Seebeck said.

The National Premier Leagues has long been on the hit-list for Cluch and Seebeck is excited that the platform is now powering the NPL.TV product.

“We’ve been speaking to Football New South Wales for some time and particularly around the launch of the initial NPL.TV concept,” he said.

“Whilst this is our first year involved, it was really interesting for us to sit back and just watch how it played out and that allowed us to pick up the conversation when we knew the original deal might be ending.

“We’ve worked really hard with the various federations from August through to Christmas to address any issues or things they wanted to improve on, because we understand that this is a huge audience and we really feel that responsibility.

“It’s very easy for this exercise to become a huge drain on resources given the number of matches that will need to be streamed every week, so we had to be clear on our systems and workflows and we also have to worry about the commercial considerations of the federations and clubs as well and make sure that they are worked into the platform.”

The NPL.TV product will work as a stand-alone app, separate from the Cluch app, which was an important consideration for the participating members.

The addition of the Victorian competition, which had previously been streaming games for free on YouTube and Facebook Live, was the product of a consensus that the NPL.TV had more power as a product showcasing several leagues as opposed to just one.

“Each member federation controls their own destiny in that respect and will make their own decisions on what they think is best for them,” Seebeck said.

“What became really apparent from the very start of the conversation was that the aggregated model was the way to go. Bringing everything into one place and ideally being able to bring the commercial opportunities and value opportunities to the entire audience.

“Obviously streaming to YouTube or Facebook is not difficult, so as a platform we had to make sure that working with us does not add any further resource drain.”

Seebeck believes it’s also important for Cluch to ensure that the commercial opportunities made possible through the platform were not just limited to itself or the member federations.

“We felt that it’s important that every single club that has exposure on the platform has the ability to commercialise and advertise. If they don’t see any value in it for them, then they’re not going to push it to their communities and fans and it’s not going to work because it’s not going to be embraced by everybody,” he said.

“It was important from our perspective that we’re able to allocate inventory right up the value chain.”

The NPL.TV platform will be completely free for fans to watch, with no subscription, meaning revenues will be driven by advertising and sponsorship.

Cluch will sell pre-roll advertisements, with member federations and clubs sharing in-stream advertisements, with the terms of that split to be handled by the federations.

The streams themselves will continue to be produced by the Federations, but Seebeck said that Cluch had outstanding existing relationships with the companies currently producing the streams on the ground.

The NPL.TV app is available globally, meaning the streams can be viewed from anywhere in the world with an App Store or an internet connection. The app itself was launched on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store on Wednesday, ahead of the Thursday night NPL Victoria season opener.

Speaking to Soccerscene prior to kick-off between the South Melbourne and Heidelberg United derby, Seebeck revealed the TV apps would also be available very soon, if not at the time of publication.

“We’re fine-tuning the TV apps, but we think that’s really important,” he said.

“For us, it doesn’t matter if you want to watch your favourite Premier League team or Champions League team or your local NPL club, if you want to watch that on TV, you should be able to do that with a single remote.

“It’s important to us that you can watch these streams on the TV without having to go and get a cable for your laptop et cetera, et cetera, so it’s something we’re fine-tuning and hope it will be available soon.”

FCA Ambassador Ernie Merrick on being a football coach

The players must have clarity in their roles and a belief in the formations and structures being implemented by the Head Coach.

As often stated, there are only two types of coaches in football – “those that are sacked or those about to be sacked”.  Such is the emotional nature of the sport and the insecurity of the role.

It seems that, in most football clubs, negative short-term results determine the employment status of the coach. How much time are the club Board prepared to allow the Head Coach to build a team for the future?

Football can be simplified and defined as a team invasion game. The objective is to invade territory to an area where goal-scoring is possible. The players must have clarity in their roles and a belief in the formations and structures being implemented by the Head Coach.

A major failure of any player is not being involved in the invasion. Penetration through forward passes and movement is critical and everyone needs to play their part. FEAR is the foremost inhibitor of performance.

There is no doubt, that the noise from the critical and emotional minority affects decisions regarding short-term results – wins or losses.  Logic and reason would favour a coach who strategically plans and implements developmental processes which will deliver sustained success over time. Sir Alex Ferguson won Manchester United’s first EPL Premiership after 7 years and went on to win 13 EPL Championships and 17 other trophies.

The ultimate aim of the coach is to find the line between luck and skill and shift it. Luck plays a role but the implementation of programs that develop skilled technique, tactical decision-making, strategic awareness and game plan execution will grow the club and achieve continued success in the longer term. The Head Coach focuses on the TEAM, however, management is about INDIVIDUALS.

The modern professional game requires expert staff comprised of coaches and service providers to cover all aspects of player development – technical, tactical, physical, mental and personal skills. The Head Coach/Manager must demonstrate that he is able to coordinate the staff and drive change with a clear vision of the processes involved. He must be capable of planning a comprehensive holistic program and develop relationship skills that encourages staff and player buy-in and a willingness to be accountable.

The Head Coach must demonstrate competence in:

  • Enlisting support staff with qualifications, experience and education skills
  • Targeting the recruitment of players who fit specific profiles within the team game plan who have the necessary skill set combined with the right mindset and resilience
  • Implementing a program which clearly defines his coaching philosophy
  • Designing an attacking Game Model that will provide the best opportunity for success
  • Encouraging a brand of football that excites the crowds and makes them feel part of the game
  • Providing the club fans via the media with club driven news and team information

Poor results in the early stages of the coach appointment is not unusual but has to be managed and conciliated. Providing honest relevant information which accepts and identifies problematic issues and a club perspective on how matters will be resolved is always helpful.

Winning teams embrace pressure and the weight of high expectation.

The key to long term success is managing failure and learning from it.

As Einstein states – “Failure is success in progress.” [That’s Jimmy Einstein from Glasgow not Albert].

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