The death of Jose Antonio Reyes has hit everyone in football. Shocking news to try and digest on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
It is a reminder to everyone how fragile life is.
Bill Shankly was wrong. Football is not more important than life or death.
Reyes death should be a reminder to everyone to be kinder. He had a tough time at Arsenal. After a solid start he was booted out of a game against Manchester United and never really recovered. After this game he became one of those players the crowd loved to get on the back of.
Were he to be at Arsenal in the current era, he would have received a lot of abuse on social media from fan.
Criticising players is fine. Nothing wrong with it. But abuse is wrong and often crosses the line.
It was not too long ago that fans were standing outside the Emirates singing about wishing death on Arsene Wenger. Following the loss to Chelsea, I saw one fan post up a picture of the Munich disaster with the comment “we need Arsenal’s version of this, with Emery and Cech in the front seat”.
Granit Xhaka recently came off social media due to the volume of death threats he receive. Shkodran Mustafi has also received death threats in recent weeks.
Whilst I am sure these death threats may not have been made with the intention of carrying through, it is still clearly wrong. I remember a few years ago someone said they would “find me and slit my throat”. I did not take it seriously but it still was not very nice.
We have also seen a lot of online abuse aimed at Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and more. No one seems to be immune.
If you do anything in memory of Reyes, be kinder.
Criticism is fine; abuse is not
RIP Jose Antonio Reyes