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Athletes’ mental health matters, so quit getting mad online

Before you pick up the phone to get angry about the athlete, remember the person because they’re one and the same.

Big Internet Brands Photo Illustrations Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter is a weird, weird place, man.

It can be fun! There’s beat writers, blogs, good fan accounts and others that make posting about sports enjoyable. It’s always fun to scroll through Twitter during a game to catch things you may have missed or have a little laugh.

There were plenty of laughs to be had last night, for instance. Life’s fun when you can find the humor in it.

Most of you fall into the fun category or simply observe it, and that’s good! This post isn’t for most of you though, it’s for the weirdos who choose to use this platform to bash college students and others because they’re Big Mad and feel the need to let everyone know about it.

We’re trying to have a nice time here, but there’s so many people who seem perfectly fine with ruining that spewing vitriol or just plain hate. Some have gone as far as building their entire identity around that and making a career out of it, which is just a sorry state of affairs.

When a team loses or makes a bad play, some are super quick to boo or yell inside the arena itself. If they’re watching at home, they pick up the phone and head to Twitter. Some criticism is fair, yeah, but it can get over the top pretty quickly.

Under no circumstances should anyone ever tag an athlete when they decide to get Mad Online. That’s just weird, wrong and shameful.

Here’s the thing. Every single athlete has decided to play a sport at some point in time. It’s usually because they find joy in it, playing makes them happy. They continue playing because they have a passion for it.

Who are you, some rando online, to take it upon yourself to steal that joy away from someone, a college kid no less? That’s just some sick stuff.

Social media is unavoidable in this day and age. Athletes are building brands for themselves because it’s good for them. And, well, good for them! They’re putting their health and livelihood on the line for their sport, they deserve something out of it.

It should be a good thing, social media. A warm environment which athletes can use to interact with the fanbase in a positive way.

But no. Because some jerks decided to ruin that fun, Mike Woodson, and countless other coaches at Indiana, have to advise their teams to be wary of social media.

By the way, this counts for all athletes, not just the Hoosiers. If Indiana loses, you shouldn’t be in another team’s athletes’ mentions or DMs (mega weird behavior). And you definitely shouldn’t treat former stars like they gave away state secrets when they show up to events in another team’s colors to take in a game and have some fun.

These are people with lives that exist outside of the court. Emotions, memories, dreams, loved ones and more.

They have a favorite spot on campus, just like any other student. They’re not just thinking about the next game, they’re thinking about the exam that’s coming up. They’re not just high fiving a teammate after a great play, they’re meeting up around Bloomington to have lunch.

Athletes aren’t just for you to watch and certainly not for you to target when you get too mad over something that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t affect your livelihood whatsoever.

Their mental health matters so much more than any game.

Before you pick up the phone to get angry about the athlete, remember the person because they’re one and the same. Be kind.