STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – “I think it’s literally one of the biggest issues that an athlete deals with on a day-to-day basis,” said former MSU tennis player Caroline Kelly.
That being, social media shaming.
“I think bullying on social media is a huge thing that people see,” said Kelly. “You can get out at the end of your game and you have tweets at you you know that are very negative.”
And if you’re wondering if these tweets really affect young athletes, they do.
“It’s embarrassing to think I’m not focusing on what I’m supposed to be doing,” said Kelly. “What I’ve trained my whole life to do, I’m focusing on what someone who I don’t know, who’s hiding behind a screen is telling me what I should be doing.”
Kelly had a cyberbully attack her during her freshman year.
“Someone had made a fake tinder account, which is a dating site, of me using my head shot from the Mississippi State website, using pictures from my Instagram, and my Facebook profile,” said Kelly.
The attacker used false personal information which led to a court case that stretched into Kelly’s sophomore year.
MSU didn’t have a counselor at the time, so Kelly had no one to go to but her mom.
“With the stress of school, plus having a sport, like that’s our job and I think having someone there would have easily changed the way I felt about myself and the way I felt about the situation,” said Kelly.
But now the position has been filled, and the new Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology not only helps her athletes, but she defends them as well.
“I get very defensive even when I, myself am scrolling through social media platforms and something will come across my feed and It’ll be like you know degrading kinds of comments,” said Dr. Angel Brutus.
Brutus said people forget these athletes are only 18 to 21-year-olds, and still human.
“At the end of the day these are kids who are juggling multiple responsibilities so no matter if there’s a win or a loss please be mindful as you start to post throughout the season because these are kids,” said Brutus.