PAPUA New Guinea international and Brisbane Bronco David Mead has come out to speak up against online bullying of rugby league players in the country.
Recently, PNG Kumuls utility Edwin Ipape, who was signed by second-tier English club Leigh Centurions, fell victim to bullying because some fans were disputing his age.
Mead shared his experience when he was a victim himself in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup after the Kumuls lost 8-9 to France in their final pool match.
Fans blamed the former Gold Coast Titan and Catalans Dragon for a missing a conversion that cost PNG the game.
“When I missed that conversion that was going to win the match back in 2013, that was when I experienced online bullying at its highest,” the Tubusereia native, from Central, told The National on Sunday.
“There were terrible things said about me.
“I would never wish for anyone to receive those types of messages because its affects you mentally and emotionally.
“It also affects your family and friends.”
The centre encouraged players to ignore what was said on social media.
“It will be hard to avoid online bullying,” Mead said.
“You have to realise that most of those people would never have the guts to say those things to your face.
“It is a simple reflection of who they are as a person regardless of what you are and what you do on the field.
“That is the best way I have learnt to deal with it.”
Mead has appealed to the fans and the public to discourage online bullying.
“To the fans, we (players) appreciate your support and passion when it comes to cheering and booing,” the 34-year-old said.
“That is what makes sports great.
“But bullying is when you cross the line.
“We should not tolerate it from anyone.
“Something I learnt at a young age about writing messages on social media was, if you wouldn’t say it around your grandmother, you shouldn’t write it or say it at all."
The National / PNG Hunters News
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