Raheem Sterling furore is the anatomy of a modern social media storm
Raheem Sterling’s new tattoo has been the subject of much media anger over the last few hours. Not even an Instagram Stories post explaining quite clearly what the body art means to him could stop the furore.
After being snapped in an England training session with a gun tattooed to his leg, the Three Lions attacker drew criticism. After posting on Instagram that his father had died at the hands of gun violence, and that the tattoo was a reminder that he should never get caught up in anything like that, there were plenty of people on social media who were understanding. Many leapt to his defence.
Let be real for a second. Sterling has just come off the back of his best season ever in football. Instead of championing him for the World Cup, parts of the media is tying to tear him down. It’s time for change. We can’t allowing this agenda to continue. pic.twitter.com/9iaK5Z5ieh
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 29, 2018
Ahead of every World Cup there is a debate around what the media’s role in England’s preparations should be. Negative headlines are par for the course – mostly because they generate clicks – but many justifiably feel that this has an impact on the team. It certainly doesn’t help.
As a result, many were quick to jump to Sterling’s defence on Twitter – or at least post that he should be left to honour his father’s death with a method of his own choosing, rather than be subject to the “demands” that some are making of him because of it.
Morning. Aware this will probably torch my timeline, but @sterling7 is a good kid, with values instilled by a wonderful mother. Acknowledging nature of his father's death was a huge statement for him. Leave him alone.
— Michael Calvin (@CalvinBook) May 29, 2018
He’s a terrific footballer with a brilliant work ethic. This persecution is disgusting. https://t.co/bx3JArBt1L
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 28, 2018
I like Raheem Sterling. Talented, determined footballer, role model for a lot of kids, a great success story. A gun tattoo doesn’t look like his greatest idea ever (and yes I read his Instagram post, which was very sad), but who actually cares? It’s a tattoo. Give him a break FFS
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) May 28, 2018
Raheem Sterling is a phenomenal individual. The amount of utter rubbish he continuously rises above would floor most. There's the descriptions like 'footie Idiot,' the relentless targeting of his normalcy – shopping, eating – and his family too. He is 23. Just leave him be.
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) May 28, 2018
Social media was the catalyst for all of this. The snap in question was posted on Instagram by Sterling first before people started to comment on the tattoo. After that, the storm deepened on Twitter as more voices chimed in.
Soon, you’d imagine, the rage will die down and we’ll all get on with our lives, but this is the anatomy of a modern social media storm. The rest of us might be able to get back to normal again afterwards, but for those in the middle it’s much harder.
Sterling might be thick-skinned enough to deal with these things by now (he’s put up with a lot over the last few years) but this is still an example of a phenomenon that won’t be going away any time soon.
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