LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: John Obi Mikel of Chelsea faces the media during a Chelsea Training Session & Press Conference ahead of the Uefa Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and Juventus at Stamford Bridge on September 18, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
John Obi Mikel used to have a Twitter account. Now he does not. The word around the internet earlier was that he's quit after receiving a torrent of abuse regarding the mistake he made for Juventus' equaliser on Wednesday. Chelsea have since denied that that's true, but this is a convenient talking point regarding general conduct towards players anyway.
I don't need to talk about the ethics of abusing anyone anonymously over Twitter. It's a deeply cowardly thing to do. Perhaps the worst part is that I can't get on the bandwagon that the folks who do this aren't 'supporters' or 'true fans'. That's clearly not true -- they're despicable specimens of humanity, perhaps -- but that doesn't mean that they're not Chelsea supporters. If they didn't want the club to win, they wouldn't be so angry at Mikel.
But they're not people that I want to be associated with, and I wish they'd stop following the club. I have no problem with complaining about Mikel's play, Fernando Torres' performances, David Luiz's bouts of insanity, or whatever else people want to talk about. But when you get into attacking a person -- and let's not forget that Mikel is a person who's given far more to Chelsea than any of these loudmouthed supporters ever will -- over a mistake made during a football match, you've crossed a major line.
I have players whose performances (in general) I like, and players whose performances (in general) that I don't. I've never hidden that. But that doesn't mean that I won't support them regardless. Hatred is not an emotion that I think is particularly acceptable in general, and it's even worse when I see folks direct it towards members of the team. Hopefully, most of We Ain't Got No History's readers feel the same.
We support John Obi Mikel. And Oriol Romeu. And Fernando Torres. And Daniel Sturridge. And Gary Cahill, Florent Malouda, David Luiz, Ross Turnbull, Ashley Cole... everyone on the squad. To me, that's part of being a Chelsea supporter.
Criticising is one thing; hating quite another (some folks have trouble telling the difference between them, especially when it's a favourite player being criticised, which leads to some pretty annoying threads). I'd like to see comments sticking to the former type on here. Constructive criticism fuels good discussion. All anyone here wants is to have a good conversation about a football team, so let's make sure we contribute to an environment where that's possible.