Is there ever really a time where fans should be sending death threats to any athlete? Brandon Jacobs, a running back for the New York Giants, was sidelined the Giants opening game this season with a hamstring injury. Because of this, he received a death threat. A person took to Twitter to vent about Jacobs not playing and ended up threatening Jacobs and his family with death if he didn’t rush for at least 50 yards against the Minnesota Vikings because he needed Jacobs to score him fantasy football points.
This is just one example of acts that are unjustifiable, and need to stop. People are putting too much pressure on professional athletes to perform well, week after week. Jacobs isn’t the only athlete to experience these kinds of things, David Akers, the kicker for the San Francisco 49ers and Mark Sanchez, former QB for the New York Jets, have both said they have received threats after not playing well. This is a growing issue and concern and it certainly isn’t only refined to football or just the NFL. Landon Donovan, someone who has been the face of American soccer for years, is no stranger to the pressure and obligation he feels to play at an elite level, week after week, because of fan thoughts. Donovan has sought counseling, dealt with depression, and seen his watched his celebrity marriage crumble and fall apart. He’s reconnected with his father, and even took a four-month break from soccer during the 2012-2013 season.
But isn’t this what we pay these athletes to do? Sure, the games are taxing on their bodies, they are away from their family a lot, but they also make an absurd amount of money. It’s easy to say that these are things that they are going to have to deal with, but isn’t it worth it when they are making millions and millions of dollars? Sure it’s easy to say this, but we often forget that even though most of the athletes that seem larger than life, and that couldn’t possibly have any problems, are still human. No one, regardless of job occupation, should have to worry about themselves, or even their families being threatened because of their performance. Tons of athletes feel the pressure of fans, dealing with their own depression forced upon them from so-called “fans.”
This can be changed though. It is our job as the public and fans, to put an end to these actions. So many people put too much into their favorite sports teams and take it out on the players when things don’t go their way. People need to sit back and realize at the end of the day that these games are just that, games.