Australian soccer player Josh Hope, 22, says he’s fed up. He’s hit his breaking point and won’t take it anymore. Hope’s so done being bullied online that he has decided to hang up his cleats and quit until further notice. The A-League player — the highest level of soccer in Australia — made the shocking announcement this week in an Instagram post featuring a photo of him holding and giving his Dauschaund a kiss.
And with that, Hope said goodbye to his job with the Melbourne Victory Football Club. The Internet bullies won.
“Well I never thought I’d be typing this one up but here we are. Some 4 years it’s been, the life of a professional sportsman. Geez its been good, the people you meet and the memories I’ve made, I won’t ever forget,” Hope wrote on Instagram. “Football has been such a big part of my life ever since I can remember. But it’s time for me to call it in, for now….it isn’t all smooth sailing and I just wonna put my experiences out there so that if anyone ever feels like they are the only one! Ya not! You aren’t alone!!
“The anxiety that comes with this sh-t is crazy, I never thought it would get to the point it did. I kept pretty quiet about it for a long time but I started to see it creep into my day to day life. And at the end of the day it made me not enjoy my football.. at all.
“Critics come with all sports and only the strong survive, (so they say) but some of the sh-t is relentless.
“I was so over being treated like just a ‘player’. We aren’t just someone you see on the TV screen, we are people no different to anyone else. It didn’t just stop after the final whistle, it’s a constant battle with people who are supposedly meant to be supporting you. Some of the things I would see not only regarding myself but others was nothing less than abuse. And I’m not talking Football related! Of course there’s going to be clueless people saying the first thing that pops into their head.
“But when it gets personal, to the colour of their skin, to how they talk, to a haircut. I get it, it’s a cruel world but geez if that’s how it’s going to be I don’t want to be a part of it.
“Without a doubt, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever made but I hope at the end of it I’m going to come back stronger. Mind and body. And be the player i know i am before this sh-t took over. In the meantime, I am so keen to focus on myself and spend some time home with family & friends! And of course this cutie [his dog]. This isn’t the end… we only just getting started mf’s!
“Remember it’s ok to not be ok, no matter who you are ❤️ #speakupstaychatty.”
Here’s the thing I don’t understand about Hope and this situation: why not just delete your social media apps and go to work. The way I’m understanding this, Hope is quitting his job and not deleting social media. The guy has just 4,200 Instagram followers. I can’t find a verified account for him on Twitter where a Josh Hope account that sure looks like it’s operated by him has just over 400 followers.
Hope told SportBible.com the abuse on Instagram and Twitter ramped up 18 months ago after giving up a penalty in a match.
“I gave away a penalty. It happens but after that game in particular, I had hundreds of tags on social media and they were all negative,” he told the site. “Not to mention the personal messages. Someone said they would kill me if I gave away another penalty. It’s a vicious cycle because you become so scared of fucking up, you can’t play properly. And it really didn’t stop after that.
“Once you get that much hate, it doesn’t matter if you play a few good games, people’s minds are set.”
I don’t know who is advising Hope on how to navigate life, but the person should be fired for not taking Hope’s phone and deleting the social media apps. This is so simple to solve. DELETE THE DAMN APPS. HOW MANY MORE TIMES DO I NEED TO SAY IT?
Or don’t and go get a new job.