Rob Cross has spoke out on the social media abuse which has been highlighted in recent weeks on Twitter during lockdown.

Cross himself received death threats after winning the 2018 World Championship and said that the abuse which has been levelled at the likes of Jelle Klaasen, Kyle Anderson, Michael Smith and Paul Nicholson – all of whom have been playing in online tournaments has crossed the line.

“It’s not acceptable in any way. I know it’s been spoken about so much by different sports stars and celebrities. But I don’t know what happened to the ‘Be Kind’ message after Caroline Flack took her own life,” said Cross to DartsWorld.

“Look at recently what Ian Wright got. He’s a brilliant bloke, so funny. Yet the messages he got were just vile. I remember how much horrible stuff got said to Peter Wright and his family a few years back. Yet he’s the nicest guy ever, never says or does anything bad to anyone.”

The current World Matchplay champion also spoke about his personal experiences with it; including when he has played in the PDC Home Tour.

“It really hurts players and their families. I don’t think any of us deserve threats and accusations of cheating. My rule is that if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face; then don’t say it,” he continued.

“Surely there are more important things in the world right now to worry about than abusing a darts player.

I notice that one fan had a go at Daryl Gurney and then apologised. I just wish people would think before they say something so vile.”

“I’ve been getting horrible messages even during matches if I lose a leg. After the match, I look at my phone; I can see they’ve been sent at certain times when I was playing!”

“We all like a bit of banter and most of us will take the stick for a laugh; but not when it’s really vile. You can’t cross that line.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Samuel Gill