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Social media sledging didn't justify Dugan's abuse

Monday's Expert

Josh Dugan during his final match for the Raiders.

Josh Dugan during his final match for the Raiders. Photo: Getty Images

Josh Dugan had 2 million reasons to walk away from a social media fight, but couldn't resist getting in the ring.

The axed Raiders star can complain as much as he wants about getting heckled by fans on social media and not having to put up with the abuse.

But what he clearly forgot is the smartest guy in the fight is the one who walks away, especially when a $2million contract is on offer.

That the Broncos aborted their chase of the 22-year-old didn't surprise me - I was more shocked it took this long.

Dugan was always going to be a massive risk for whatever club picked up the pieces after the Raiders rightfully sent him on his way. The talented fullback didn't just have one chance. He had countless strikes before the Raiders said enough was enough.

You would have thought he would have learnt his lesson about social media.

Used correctly, outlets such as Twitter and Instagram can provide fans with a valuable insight into their favourite players, while also increasing the players' brand image.

Before Sunday, Dugan hadn't posted on his Twitter account since March 12 - the day a photo emerged of him shooting the breeze on a rooftop and missing a Raiders recovery session in the process.

That photo came from Instagram, the same app which became the source of his latest downfall on Saturday night.

There was no malice in the latest photo Dugan posted, just one of him and a mate enjoying a good time.

A couple of people - at least one who is a Raiders fan - took the opportunity to get stuck into Dugan about leaving the Raiders, breaking up with his partner and the fact the Raiders were better off with Reece Robinson at fullback. They were cheap shots.

High-profile sportspeople, and celebrities from other walks of life, are easy targets for abuse. Yet that doesn't give Dugan the right to engage in the battle, let alone to tell one of the users to ''end yourself''.

Footy players cop sledging from the bleachers on a weekly basis. The advent of social media has taken it to a whole more personal level. Trolls have become the biggest menace in the online environment.

The NRL has a strict social media policy for its players, underlined by the fact it employed Charlotte Dawson as an anti-bullying ambassador.

Dawson had a breakdown and self-admitted herself to hospital last year after she was told to kill herself on social media.

Even if the Broncos had proceeded with their pursuit of Dugan, there was no guarantee the NRL would have registered the contract given his latest indiscretion.

As part of his apology on Twitter on Sunday, Dugan spoke about there being two sides to the story and how he shouldn't have to put up with the harassment.

Then again, he shouldn't have reacted the way he did. If only he would respond to my numerous texts and phone calls so I can find out his side of the story.

8 comments so far

  • I guess it's easy to say it all comes down to "priorities" but then again like most of us I'll never be in Josh Dugan's shoes.I think Josh would be pretty well advised to go NOWHERE near a bottle of booze or a mobile phone for thirty days.I'm not saying that'll solve all the problems in his life but I do reckon it couldn't hurt either.Maybe consider going overseas,playing footy somewhere he doesn't speak the native language,hire a translator who can edit his comments and get his life back on track...just a thought.

    Commenter
    Manon DeEdge
    Date and time
    April 01, 2013, 10:05AM
    • Nice idea, but none of your suggestions will fill the void between his ears.

      Commenter
      Noodles
      Date and time
      April 01, 2013, 10:37AM
  • A move to Aussie Rules perhaps?

    Commenter
    Badger
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    April 01, 2013, 10:37AM
    • I think Dugan would be looking for a challenge. AFL would be too easy, anyone can come off the street and play that game.

      Commenter
      Muzza
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 8:44AM
  • As an AFL player and then as a senior AFL umpire I was continually sledged but back then we didn't get over paid, under worked, have inflated self-worth of ourselves and also had a day job. I know we didn't have social media but no one is forced to read what is written.

    Commenter
    Tony of Kureelpa
    Date and time
    April 01, 2013, 10:48AM
    • I'd give up social media for $2million in a heartbeat!

      Commenter
      mankymank
      Date and time
      April 01, 2013, 11:32AM
      • Josh who?

        Commenter
        Raiders fan
        Date and time
        April 01, 2013, 11:33AM
        • I think Duges is in a bad space right now, and it would definitely be advisable for him to keep the randoms out of his life for the time being, and try to be surrounded by good friends and family. In return, they should keep a close eye on him and his actions.

          Commenter
          Ngunnawally
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          April 01, 2013, 8:55PM

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