GAA President, Larry McCarthy, urges restraint in commentary of amateur players
GAA President Larry McCarthy has revisited comments he made during his inauguration speech last February following the aftermath of the All-Ireland football final and urged commentators and social media posters to practice restraint in their comments and analysis of the Association’s amateur players.
“Words matter, what one says matters, what one puts in the public domain matters,” said McCarthy.
“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 perpetuated 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 down-right 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 GAA President admitted to being surprised by the level of discord directed at players that some critics claim to support.
He 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.”