Sticks, stones and social media

Social media is both a good and bad thing.


It has more power than people give it credit for.


It’s also a way to say things to people from behind a keyboard that we would never say to their face, very empowering if used the right way.


I use it as an outlet to vent my complaints, as do many other footy fans.


Thing is, it can kind of backfire and I feel like you do have to be mindful of what you say.


Last week on Twitter Tom Robertson (The digital content producer at Collingwood) tweeted:


“Decided to turn off Instagram comments after the loss yesterday. Player mental health > fans adding their two cents/engagement.”


Basically, he muted public comments on Collingwood’s Instagram page after the loss because of how much of a negative toll it takes on the players. This upset me a bit. I thought of the coaches and players in the hubs looking at their phones and reading some of the negative comments directed towards them. The same people who give their all to play the game for us fans and stay back to sign autographs or have quick chats that make our day.


Imagine you’ve just lost a game and maybe you had a tough night on the ground. You go onto social media and there’s a constant stream of supporters digging into you and your performance, or in Nathan Buckley’s case, calling for an immediate step down.


Its a bit harsh to point everything on the one person. A footy club is like a machine. All the parts in the machine have to work together and be in good condition for the machine to work properly. ultimate success doesn’t just come down to a coach or a couple of players.


When we lash out or take to social media to vent out frustrations we forget that AFL players and coaches (yes even umpires) are people too. We put them on these pedestals, some we even idolise but at the end of the day they are just like us.


They are sons, brothers, husbands, fathers. They have feelings and they shouldn’t have to deal with the abuse they receive. What about their family members who read the abuse too. if someone posted something negative on social  media about a member of my family they’d have me to answer too and it wouldn’t be pretty.


It seems like everyone can share a post for mental health on social media or grow a moustache for ‘Movember’ because its on trend to look like you care about world issues (EG: Men’s mental health) but can they back it up with their behaviour and the way the treat other people?


When I watch the footy at home my I normally have my phone in my hand with Twitter open. The amount of negative comments directed at players and coaches automatically pour in.


The same way it would be wrong for a patient to have a go at me at the reception desk at my workplace, its also wrong to bash players and coaches.


Whenever I was put in that type of position i’d think, why am I being treated this way when I’m just trying to do my job.


That’s what these guys are doing, they’re trying to do their job and while I don’t agree with the umpires most of the time I know where the line is if I choose to comment about them.


For example people would consider it unacceptable for someone to approach me at reception and say things to me like “you’re so sh*t” or “you’re useless” ect but its fine for someone on social media to send that to a player or coach or umpire? Just because players/coaches/umpires might get paid big money doesn’t mean the price tag has to come with tolerated, normalised abuse. Just because you are a paying member for whatever amount of years also doesn’t give you the right to openly abuse the players or coaches.


There are some things that just should not be said.


Believe it or not you do have the option of keeping an opinion to yourself, especially if it’s a negative one.


Last week I Tweeted a quote from my last piece saying.


“I want to be Nathan Buckley’s patience, determined like a Brayden Maynard tackle, focused as a Brodie Grundy run in, as woke as Scott Pendlebury’s awareness, provoking like a Jordan De Goey tattoo and strong like a Darcy Moore mark in the backline.”


As a result I received 2 replies to this Tweet which stood out.


One: “Not while Buckley is our coach.”


Two: “Nice to hear someone who believes in the team, accepts that teams have highs and lows (they all do) and not have knee JERK reactions like sacking the board, coach and nearly all the players. Hang in there “supporters”, detractors can just find another team. Go Pies.”


Big contrast between the two replies, I know which one id rather be reading as a Player/coach. I know which one would fire up motivation and positivity going into preparations for next week’s game. As supporters we need to acknowledge the battle is only half physical. The players go out and try to win a game of footy but its our role to be ‘supporters’ and hype them up mentally. Think of how many times a club has used the power of the noise of the crowd to carry them over the line. The power of the people has more influence than the Clubs would like to admit.


I get it, we have injuries, sometimes we play poorly, and it can get frustrating to watch. As an extremely passionate Collingwood supporter I love to win but sometimes it just doesn’t go that way and its unrealistic to have such expectations every game. Its footy, its unpredictable, circumstances change, there’s injuries, teams go through rough patches and yes sometimes you can get outplayed.


Coaching staff are paid to mentor players specifically about their performance. They sit down and dissect clips of their mistakes and their improvements. They already get schooled by professionals on things they should have done differently so they don’t need the public chiming in further with smart-arse comments too.


Players need positivity, faith and belief just as much as they need weights sessions, warm-ups and stretching. If you have a positive mind set you have a greater chance at success, its common sense.


I’ve made a mental note myself to be more mindful of people’s feelings. To think before I type and to consider how I say, what I say and the consequences that may come of it. I’ve made a point to let myself be frustrated, not dwell too long on a loss and get my hopes up and cross my fingers for a better effort the next week. Keep in mind that the coaches and players want the same thing you do, to win Premierships and that is what is on their mind when they run out to play every week.


With that in mind, instead of pointing fingers hold yourself accountable and recognise the power you have as a supporter, use it to lift your players and your club instead of dragging it down.






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About Danielle Hakim

A passionate 28 year old Collingwood supporter who fangirls like a 16 year old at heart. Chased down and yelled "I love you" at a startled Brodie Grundy in 2018 after the Semi-final loss. Danced down the stairs with a Collingwood scarf one time to a De Goey song and the video went viral.


  1. John Butler says

    Long time no see, Dani. :)

    I reckon tweeting about the footy is the modern equivalent of all those blokes who would howl in the outer on a Saturday afternoon (I’m talking old school footy). It’s a release of frustration – not always about the footy. Very little to do with logic.

    But when you commit such outpourings to a platform like Twitter or Facebook, it can have an entirely different context. It certainly can have a longevity that many probably would regret.

    Good to hear from you.

    Look forward to further pieces.


  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Well said Danni.

    There’s a wonderful Collingwood fan community on Twitter that’s great to be a part of. There’s some morons as well, happy to block/mute them.

    If I was playing for Collingwood or any other team I reckon I wouldn’t be on the socials.

  3. Thanks Danni yep a timely reminder to us all re the outcome of our actions.I know of a Adelaide player who was urged to remove himself from all social media for his own well being

  4. Danielle Hakim says

    G’day JB :)
    I agree and with social media people actually direct it to the person by tagging them specifically.
    Its 2020 and people still don’t know how hurting words can be.

    Thanks Luke.
    Haha yes gotta love the colourful people on Twitter. I made a few friends from there but also a few people who should think again before pressing ‘Tweet.’

    That’s very sad to hear Rulebook.
    imagine being so ragged on by the internet that you can’t even exist on there. People are cruel.

  5. Danni
    Your words are very timely given the horrendous comments on social media regarding individual players and incidents in the Dreamtime game. I’m probably the only person on the planet who’s never used Twitter, Facebook or Instagram so I’m not well qualified to comment. I daresay social media has its positive side, but for every fleeting moment when I think I might be missing out on something, I hear of a dozen instances of this sort of vile behaviour.

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