ROB CROSS has hit out at the social media abuse that “hurts” the top players including World Champion Peter Wright. The 2018 World Champion was on the receiving end of death threats to him and his family after winning the big one at the Ally Pally two years ago.
Now Voltage fears it’s getting worse after Kyle Anderson, Jelle Klaasen, Michael Smith and Paul Nicholson received more abuse on Twitter over the past few weeks during lockdown. He said: “It’s not acceptable in any way. I know it’s been spoken about so much by different sports stars and celebrities. But I don’t know what happened to the ‘Be Kind’ message after Caroline Flack took her own life.
“Look at recently what Ian Wright got. He’s a brilliant bloke, so funny. Yet the messages he got were just vile. “I remember how much horrible stuff got said to Peter Wright and his family a few years back. Yet he’s the nicest guy ever, never says or does anything bad to anyone.
“Trust me this is serious. It was the worst thing that happened in my career when I got the death threats, especially to my kids.
“It really hurts players and their families. I don’t think any of us deserve threats and accusations of cheating. My rule is that if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t say it. “Surely there are more important things in the world right now to worry about than abusing a darts player. “I notice that one fan had a go at Daryl Gurney and then apologised. I just wish people would think before they say something so vile.
“I’ve been getting horrible messages even during matches if I lose a leg. After the match, I look at my phone and I can see they’ve been sent at certain times when I was playing! “We all like a bit of banter and most of us will take the stick for a laugh, but not when it’s really vile. You can’t cross that line.”
Cross agrees with Nicholson that social media accounts must be verified with a name and address so the keyboard warriors can be identified by police. He added:
“It’s very sad because I don’t think that will happen. When you see what is said these days, I can’t believe nothing has been done yet.“
The sad thing is that it will stop sportspeople and celebrities interacting with the fans, they will just stop using social media. That’s not fair on the real fans who do give us great support.”
Voltage, last year’s World Matchplay and European Champion, has drawn Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse, and Daniel Larsson in his next Low6 Home Tour group on May 30. He also hopes he will get to defend his Matchplay title in late July, adding: “I know the PDC is making that decision by June 5. Obviously I hope it can go ahead somehow. It was my second favourite moment of my short career to win last year.”
Pics: Taylor Lanning