GAA president condemns 'cowardly' criticism of players

September 21, 2021

GAA President Larry McCarthy. ©INPHO/Tom O'Hanlon.

GAA president Larry McCarthy has hit out at the criticism levelled at some players.

It comes after Mayo GAA released a statement on Sunday evening condemning the personal attacks on both players and team management following their All-Ireland final defeat to Tyrone.

McCarthy told the GAA website: “Words matter, what one says matters, what one puts in the public domain matters.

“This was a point I made at Congress in February 2021 in the context of, what Bob Costas calls, a corrosive assault on civility. That corrosive assault has been perpetrated recently by members of the 'critics collective’ and by many people who term themselves supporters in their reaction to the All-Ireland football final.

“The criticism emanating from these people has been overly harsh, unfair and in some cases downright cowardly. It has gone well beyond fair analysis of team performance. Critical evaluation of match performance is fine, and expected, but overly harsh scrutiny of amateur players is unjustifiable. 

"It is inexcusable when it moves beyond the realm of what happens on the field.” 

The Cork native added: “It beggars belief that people who consider themselves supporters of a team would castigate members of that team, the management and the County Committee in a crude and, in some cases, personal fashion. 

"Nobody sets out to play badly, nobody sets out to lose an All-Ireland, but it happens. 

"Supporters, who are members of GAA clubs, who attend club games, and who know the commitment and sacrifice the players make, understand this. Unfortunately, it is a point that seems to have escaped far too many people in the last week.

“Stop unwarranted critiques of GAA members. Stop this corrosive assault on civility. Perspective is needed when commenting on games and sport in general – not least when players are amateurs. None of us know the long-lasting impact of this type of harsh criticism on amateur players and we need to be mindful of the positive mental health of others.”

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