Unrelenting hate speech has caused many athletes to speak out about how the hate they receive is detrimental to their mental health, with some even going as far as to remove themselves from social media platforms altogether. Five very high-profile examples of athlete hate illustrate this trend reaching a new level.

Most recently:

  • Simone Biles, after her withdrawal during the Olympic Women’s Gold Medal Gymnastics Finals, was lauded by some; but she also faced a tumultuous amount of hate speech across social media platforms and in the media.
  • Shelby Rogers, after her US Open defeat at the hands of Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu, said she’s facing “nine million death threats” from “faceless strangers” on her social media accounts. Read more here.
  • Two English soccer players, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka, who missed pivotal penalty kicks in the Euro 2020 championships, were harassed online to the point that the British Prime Minister weighed-in to condemn the racist conduct. These players were the victims of racial slurs and relentless targeting by online trolls.
  • The U.S. Women’s Soccer team, whose political activism has been a beacon to some, has been also the collective and individual athlete victim of homophobic hate speech online and false narratives that accused them of being anti-patriotic.
  • Defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders, Carl Nassib, recently came out as the first openly gay active player in NFL history. While his announcement was largely celebrated, it also opened up the door to examining the years of toxic masculinity and homophobia that NFL fans have demonstrated on social media.

Today, elite brands are defined by their communities. Companies can foster health, wellness, and safety in their online communities by first proactively identifying and preventing community members from being exposed to abuse and harassment. Inclusive, welcoming, and thriving communities deliver on the promise of a better internet.

So how could you create an environment where athletes maintain their presence within communities and social media in a healthy thriving way without the expense of their mental health?

The answer is holistic community management principals, like Two Hat’s five layers approach found here. This approach will help protect the overall health, safety and wellness of online communities.

At Two Hat, our work is defined by an investment in the wellness and growth of digital spaces. Choose Two Hat. Choose safer communities.

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