Social media account holders need to be accountable - that’s Luke Gale’s View From The Pitch

I WAS fully behind the social media boycott last weekend and I hope it got the message across.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 5:58 am
Wigan's John Bateman gives 'as good as he gets' on social media says Luke Gale. Picture: Alex Whitehead/

I have thought for a long time something has to be done about cyber bullying, which is what abuse on social media basically is.

It’s very easy nowadays for somebody to log on as an anonymous account and say whatever they want without any accountability or consequences.

Twitter is probably the worst for it.

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Leeds Rhinos' Liam Sutcliffe rues a missed drop kick during the Betfred Super League match at the John Smith's Stadium against hosts, Huddersfield Giants. Picture:: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

It is great when it is used in the right way, to promote sport and that sort of thing, but it gives everyone an outlet for their opinion.

Of course everyone is entitled to that, but social media seems to be mostly about negativity, which is really frustrating.

Being a rugby player, I know how it works - one week you can be the best player in the world and the next week you’re the worst.

That’s how fans are, of all sports and I get it all the time.

Leeds Rhinos teenager Corey Hall came in for 'some stick' on social media after the game against Castleford revealed club captain, Luke Gale. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.

I could show you 500 messages in my Instagram box - it happens after every single game - but I have got a thick skin and, if anyone wants to throw abuse at me, they are wasting their time.

I can honestly say, it is water off a duck’s back and it genuinely doesn’t bother me at all.

There are people whose opinion I respect and take note of and anonymous trolls on social media aren’t among them.

But, not everybody’s the same.

For me, it’s part and parcel of the job, but my partner sees what’s said about me and she takes it to heart.

It’s not me I worry about, it is people who aren’t as thick skinned.

That’s just the way some people are and what’s said can affect them and their mental health.

Just think about that, why should anyone have to put up with abuse just over doing their job, even if they have had a bad day?

I didn’t see it, but I’ve been told young Corey Hall, who’s 18, got some stick after the Cas game.

That was his first start and the edge he was up against was Oggy Holmes, Michael Shenton and Jordan Turner, who probably have 900 or so games between them.

For a fan to make any comment about him after that, I don’t think it’s on. Judge him when he’s played 100 games and even then, be constructive about it.

I don’t respond, even though I’ve been tempted once or twice.

Some players do. John Bateman’s the best at it; he gives as good as he gets, but I just don’t think it’s worth the time.

I think what needs to happen is people need to be held accountable.

If you wouldn’t say something to somebody face to face, why should you say it on social media?

People think they can get away with it, because they aren’t held accountable.

The social media companies need to take that on board, which is what the blackout last weekend was all about.

People have taken their own life because of bullying online and social media platforms have got to do more to prevent situations like that. I think the boycott was a great exercise and, hopefully, it changes things.

There’s people who are a lot smarter than me who I am sure can come up with a way of making users accountable - maybe like some sort of passport so when you open an account you are a person, rather than a bunch of numbers and a picture of an egg.

All being well, I’ll be back on the pitch when we play Wakefield next week.

We need a win, no doubt about that, but we weren’t far off against Huddersfield.

I thought Sutty [Liam Sutcliffe] and Kruise [Leeming]had a good go in the halves.

Sutty will be disappointed he missed some drop goals, but that’s not his game, to be knocking them over.

It hurts to lose by a point - or by any margin.

But the boys are showing loads of effort and commitment and things will turn around once we get a few more players on the field.

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