Robert Enke was a German goalkeeper who was the result of a depression he committed suicide by throwing himself on the train tracks in the city of Hanover. His story shocked the world of football and brought to the fore the need to treat mental illness with the importance it requires.
It shocked everyone except a Bayer Leverkusen fan, who after a poor performance by the goalkeeper Bernd leno decided to send him a message through networks: “Do as Enke”.
That day was the last that Leno opened a social network to read what people thought of his team’s soccer games. “Since I read that I realized that there are too many stupid people in the networks. That is the reason why I do not read them even when I do it well., said the now Arsenal goalkeeper in an interview with Sky Sports.
Enke committed suicide in 2009, after being heavily criticized in his time at the FC Barcelonaand in the Fernebahçe and after the death of his daughter. It is the most extreme case that football has experienced, a sport in which its fans have not learned to behave when the fury of a defeat or a mistake consumes them.
For months in England it has been seen as normal that the day after a meeting a piece of news appears in the press with the following headline: “‘X’ player receives threats on social networks“It is a constant. An error is associated with insults and racial abuse.
The cases are counted by dozens. The last to suffer it, Axel Tuanzebe Y Anthony Martial, of Manchester United, after a defeat against Sheffield United, because the fans considered that they had not defended well. Then it was the turn of Antonio rudiger, for scoring an own goal.
Even Mikel Arteta He said that being coach of the Arsenal he had to denounce that both he and his family were threatened by fans who use the networks as a mask for harassment.
“There are too many people who hide behind their computers to make you feel bad. Many times they use racism or insult your family. I don’t like it and I don’t read it. It can affect your life. What’s the point?”Leno adds.
The strong bodies of English football have already moved ranks and have come together to ask Instagram and Facebook to do something to stop this tsunami of attacks. In a letter addressed to the founders of both social networks, the Premier League, along with other associations, asked to remove racist messages, that they impose a filter that prevents sending hateful messages, that prevents people from using multi-accounts and a string of complaints aimed at avoiding what is repeated every week in England.
And this problem is not exclusive to football. It is closely related to sports betting, as tennis players have lived in their flesh after losing a match and seeing their Instagram inbox filled with insults. The Argentinian Diego schwartzman, current number 9 of the ATP, denounced in 2017 that after each game he lost, he received the same kind of threats.