The Indian cricket team surely has the most devoted fans in the world. But what these fans often forget, is the demarcation between the players’ personal and professional lives.
The obsession of cricket took an ugly turn after the IPL (Indian Premier League) match wherein Chennai Super Kings lost to Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. The captain of the team Chennai Super Kings, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ‘fans’ were disappointed by his performance on the field and decide to take matters into their own hands. Dhoni, one of the most successful Indian skipper ever and widely known as ‘Captain Cool’ for his calm and composed personality, unfortunately, could not perform well. He scored 11 runs in 12 deliveries. This anguished his fans, who took to Instagram and were quick to send rape threats to Dhoni’s five-year-old daughter, Ziva.
The sickening act took place on M.S. Dhoni as well as Sakshi Dhoni’s Instagram handles. A screenshot shared by a twitter user shows the offensive as well as appalling messages which talked about raping and impregnating Ziva Dhoni once she grows up.
Chennai Super Kings failed to chase the 168 run target by Kolkata Knight Riders which seemed to have upset the latter club’s fans. Historically, fans have often lashed out on players’ personal lives for their performances. Many players including bowler Irfan Pathan showed their support to MSD and Ziva Dhoni.
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) October 9, 2020
It is said that a public personality’s strength and weakness is the public. But such fans seem to ignore the fact that notable personalities like MS Dhoni are public figures and not public properties. Targeting a five-year-old for her father’s performance in a game is the most inhumane and loathsome activity one can do.
When MSD ( Mahendra Singh Dhoni) announced his retirement from cricket this year, the whole country mourned but one bad performance and these fans came back to bite him. These hypocrite and gross fans should understand that a bad performance of a cricketer doesn’t give them any authority to send rape threats or any sort of threats to his/her family or friends.
BLAMING MARRIGE FOR EVERYTHING
This is not the first time that a woman or a child is threatened and criticized for her father’s/husband’s bad performance. It has been falsely thought in India that a sportsperson’s career either finishes or goes downhill after their marriage. Which is why people are quick to blame the players’ spouses for their forms. So be it Hardik Pandya’s wife and actress Nataša Stanković and Virat Kohli’s wife and actress Anushka Sharma or Stuart Binny’s wife and sports presenter Mayanti Langer, the heat of trolling is faced by the ones, not on the field. Additionally, it is not just women but even men are at the forefront here, Sania Mirza’s husband and Pakistani cricketer, Shoaib Akhtar, has often been a target for trollers to blame for the tennis star’s form.
The meme culture has led people to believe that it is totally okay to speak about somebody’s race, colour, sex and give rape threats. Hundreds and thousands of memes are shared daily on social media platforms targeting these players’ personal lives.
WHERE DOES THE PROBLEM LIE?
While talking about the toxic fan base of Cricket, Aniket Kumar, a student of KGEC Kolkata said, “People should stop invading sportsman’s personal life. Dhoni is already retired and he is doing his best, what he needs right now is support from his fans. People are so caught up in their own that they don’t realise who they are becoming. Demeaning a legend who brought glory to our nation isn’t cool. It is stupid, but maybe that is the negative aspect of stardom.”
Anagh Datta, a student of Symbiosis Law school, Noida on asking what can be done to avoid such situations said, “These hypocrite fans mostly create fake profiles to get away with their nuisance behaviour. As the IT laws of our country are pretty weak, these online harassments are increasing every day and harassers take advantage of it. In the coming years of civilization, this freedom on the internet should be limited. The makers should immediately suspend these accounts under hate speech and violent threats.”
Recently the country witnessed the brutality of caste-based crime against a teen girl in Hathras, UP. There were hundreds of debates on social media but no step was taken to make this country a safer place for women. The country has normalized crimes against women. People blame women for rapes, they accuse women saying, “They were asking for it”, but what wrong did a five-year-old do to receive such disgusting rape threats?
Raima Ram, a 11th standard student of Kalyani Central Model School, Kolkata shared her disappointment via a poem:
The child, doesn’t even know to pronounce most words,
my heart ached in shame when I read about it.
They call them cricket fans and whatnot,
yet I don’t think they deserve to live even for a bit.
My eyes, after seeing the comments,
are filled with tears of disgust and fear,
as if everyone has a permit to justify crime,
no matter how old you are or what you wear.
Disgusting, how it sounds like a joke to some, but let me tell you,
these heinous crimes ain’t something grand,
They worship and then threat their same “Goddess” with such words,
now I doubt if I should call this hell, my land.
Only if there were some strict rules against these abuses in this country, only then a person would not dare to send rape threats so casually. How many candle? How many candle marches? How many protests? Will it stop after that?