Rebecca Marino was once one of the best young tennis players on the planet. The 20 year old tennis player from Vancouver had clawed her way up to number 38 in the world rankings.
That was almost two years ago.
Then last February, she walked away from the game she loved.
Why would one of the best tennis players in the world, and the best women’s player in Canada, walk away from the sport she loved?
Because of the internet.
In a New York Times article Marino, a soft and quiet person, said “Things were being written about me, and I’m quite sensitive about that…And I’m quite nosy, so I’ll look it up. And then I’ll realize I shouldn’t have looked it up.”
Marino recently attempted a comeback after a seven month hiatus. What were the results?
Now only 22 years old, Marino played well and even won an event. Unfortunately seven months was not enough to change society, and the negative comments kept coming.
Marino officially said she was walking away from the game. Who knows for how long; seven months, seven years, forever?
The media has been all over stories of athletes going on twitter tirades or posting really dumb pictures, but rarely does anyone pay attention to the tirades of the fans. Social media is completely inescapable, especially for athletes nowadays. Every athlete and their exotic pets have twitter and facebook pages.
Now imagine that you’re at a sports bar. Imagine that one really drunk guy who curses out every player in the league because “they are terrible” or “they can’t shoot the puck” or a lot of things that can’t be repeated here. Now imagine about a million of those people telling you every single day of the year how “you suck” or “you’re worthless.”
It doesn’t matter who you are. If you are constantly harassed or bullied by that many people that often, it is going to hurt.
Social media has become a for fans to attack athletes. That drunk person at the bar can now complain directly to that “garbage” player over the internet instead of spouting his nonsense until he gets cut off and tossed out of the bar.
In junior high, that is called cyber bulling and there has been millions of dollars spent in advertising and marketing to teach children why this is wrong. Somehow though, adults can’t seem to comprehend the very lessons they are trying to teach their children.
It’s not fair to anyone to be treated that way. The fact that one of Canada’s best athletes in no longer playing the sport she loves because the idiots and the bullies won’t pipe down, is absolutely despicable.
Like Marino said in her New York Times interview, “With professional athletes, people put them on a pedestal sometimes, and they forget that they’re actually a person still.”