Mexican goalkeeper Memo Ocha was showered with social media love on Tuesday, after he made heroic saves that kept his country from losing at the hands of Brazil.
But social media can be somewhat of a double edged sword for World Cup participants. And Twitter users can also be harsh on players who fail to perform.
Just ask Ecuador’s Michael Arroyo, who fumbled on a critical scoring opportunity against Switzerland on Sunday. The midfielder received so many insults from his countrymen over Twitter in the past three days — including a few that had racist overtones — that he’s now boycotting the site. On Tuesday Arroyo even threatened to shut down his account.
Arroyo failed to capitalize on a clear scoring opportunity in the 92 minute of Ecuador’s World Cup opener against Switzerland. Unluckily for the 27-year-old midfielder, the Swiss recovered the ball and mounted a devastating counter attack that ended in a game winning goal.
On Twitter, thousands of Ecuadorian fans went on a rampage against Arroyo. Some of the worst examples are below, including one user who called him a “ignorant black man” (negro burto) and another who referred to Arroyo was a “son of a b*itch marijuana smoker”(marihuanero hpta).”
Arroyo tried to calm fans down with a couple of messages like this one, in which he reminded people that Spain had lost its first game in South Africa 2010 but ended up winning the tournament
He also challenged his critics to continue to unleash their frustration on him.
These messages predictably backfired. Fans have continued to go after Arroyo, but also mocked his poor spelling.
It’s important to point out though that thousands of Ecuador fans have supported Arroyo, and called for a fans to be more understanding.
But perhaps there is a lesson here for Arroyo and other World Cup players. Don’t even think about addressing an angry mob of your compatriots online. If you make a mistake on the field, concentrate on training hard for the next game, keep your head down, and keep your fingers away from that Twitter account, because as the saying goes, “don’t feed the trolls.”