November 17, 2014

Does it happen? Yes. Will it stop? Probably not.

Dear hockey fans: let’s do more to weed out internet trolls
It shouldn’t have to be said, but apparently, it needs to be: there is no excuse for attacking a player’s wife, girlfriend or any family member. None. If you don’t know why this is inappropriate, go soak your head for a good, long while, and try figuring it out again on your own. The families of hockey players have no connection to your enjoyment of the game. Any rationalization you have to include them in your hate is fundamentally flawed, as are you as a human being if you’re stupid enough to do so.
Most women don't understand what they're getting themselves into when they date a professional athlete. They truly don't. They just fall in love with a guy, and don't realize what comes with his position as a public figure - not just the bad stuff, but the good stuff as well.

The hockey media is actually pretty good about not dragging wives and girlfriends into things. Unlike other sports that will more than happily trash the wife of a big name player in the mainstream media. Especially if she has a high-profile in her own right.

So, no. This doesn't surprise me at all. Some women just shouldn't even consider dating, let alone marry, a professional athlete because of this very thing. If you can't hack internet trolls or stupid reporters that will come after you for no real reason, then you have no business being married to a guy who deals with that on a daily basis.

This is also why athletes shouldn't talk about their wives or girlfriends, and / or families publicly. Seriously. If they give their significant other attention, then others will give them attention. And usually not in a good way. It's not just personal attacks, but also sexual harassment that's involved.

For some people, nothing is sacred. If a guy is a public figure, then by extension, everyone he knows is also public and fair game. In some cases, it's actually a fan trying to upset a player from the opposing team by going after his wife just so his team will win. Which is incredibly wrong, but it does happen - more so to NFLers in this country than anyone else, and likely also to soccer players elsewhere.

A lot of people view this as the athlete first, and the wife second - like she and the kids are acceptable collateral damage, instead of targeted victims of hateful acts as well. I can't decide if that's due to sexism (the man is more important than the woman) or the fact that she's not typically in the spotlight like the athlete is. Either way, that's also not right.

Not all women are cut out for this life, and a lot of that is because of this sort of thing. It blindsides most women, and they don't often have a thick enough skin to take the verbal abuse. Women tend to take things very personally, especially when some stranger is attacking them on a personal basis. They don't always get that the attack has more to do with the person making it than themselves.

And, of course, it doesn't help that the athletes are so used to it that they don't think to say anything to these women that it might happen to them as well. In fact, the athletes tend to not realize that it will happen to the woman they love, so it does get under their skin. Which is exactly the thing trolls want to happen.

That shouldn't stop anyone from dating anyone else, but it should be something to be mentally prepared for.