Fallon Sherrock has become the latest victim of social media abuse within the darting world after she received a disgusting message following a defeat in Modus’ online Icons of Darts League.
Sherrock has established herself as one of the biggest stars in the sport following her groundbreaking exploits at the World Championship in December, which elevated her to global stardom and saw her receive a challenger’s spot in this year’s Premier League.
The 25-year-old was due to compete in all six World Series events in 2020 before they were curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but she’s played a prominent role in the thriving online darts concept, claiming the scalps of various world champions over recent weeks.
Sherrock suffered four defeats from five games in Wednesday’s competition but her 5-3 victory over an in-form Martin Adams generated headlines – she landed four maximums, converted 71% of her attempts at double and averaged 103.14 – a new broadcast record for a female player.
Nevertheless, she received a horrific direct message on social media following a defeat yesterday, which read: ‘Your so s*** you slag, I’d love to stamp on your ugly head’. Sherrock posted the message on twitter, adding: ‘All I did was not win a game of darts, this is so wrong’.
‘The Queen of the Palace’ was inundated with messages of support from the darting community, with Paul Nicholson, Diogo Portela and David Evans – all of whom have faced Sherrock in the Icons of Darts – offering their backing alongside Sky Sports commentators Stuart Pyke and Laura Turner.
However, it’s the latest episode in a concerning trend of online attacks against professional darts players, which appears to have been exacerbated by the popularity of online darts amid the lack of live sport throughout lockdown.
Kyle Anderson received a series of abusive messages following his appearance on the PDC Home Tour in April, despite having only just recovered from Covid-19, whilst Michael Smith, Luke Humphries, Nicholson and Portela have also been targeted by cowardly keyboard warriors.
Former major winner Nicholson addressed the issue in a recent Sporting Life column, whilst 2018 world champion Rob Cross and current World Youth champion Humphries have also spoken out publicly about their experiences in dealing with social media abuse.
This prompted the Professional Darts Players Association (PDPA) to take unprecedented steps to support those who are subjected to such vitriol, and their simple guide urges players not to engage with the perpetrators and instead report the messages to either the PDPA or the DRA.
One of the most refreshing aspects of our sport is the camaraderie between players and fans, which has given so many the opportunity to interact and engage with their darting heroes across social media. However, the hateful minority could jeopardise this prospect going forward.
There’s an increasing number of players opting to either step away from social media or letting their management control their output, which is entirely understandable given the current climate.
Image Credit: PA