Wigan Warriors urge fans to support each other’s mental health

Wigan Warriors urge fans to support each other’s mental health

This year’s campaign is in memory of the late Rob Burrow

The campaign is supported by referee Marcus Griffiths, who has been the victim of homophobic abuse

Author: Harry BoothPublished 2 minutes ago

In memory of the late Rob Burrow, Wigan Warriors and other Super League teams are urging fans to look after each other’s mental health.

The Tackle the Tough Stuff campaign was inspired by the support the former player received from his wife Lyndsey and best friend Kevin Sinfield.

Many personal stories are also shared in the hope that they can help others who are going through similar experiences.

Last year, Marcus Griffiths shared some of the disgusting messages he received online.

He said:

“The campaign is hugely important. From a refereeing perspective it’s difficult. Mental health is hugely important and as a department and over time we’ve had a number of disasters.

“Years ago, one of my good friends committed suicide. Only by talking about it can attitudes change so that we can get to a place where it is no longer taboo to talk about your mental health or what you receive or don’t receive online.

“Referees are great actors. On a rugby field we have to convince people that we’re right, and sometimes we might be wrong. Sometimes you can’t convince people that you’re right. One of the biggest red flags we have is that we’re so good at it, we don’t want our family to see us in a bad situation, we don’t want our colleagues at work to see us in a bad situation and sometimes it’s just about letting that wall down and accepting that you might need help, you might need someone to talk to – whether that’s a teammate, or someone from a completely different department, which I often find easier because you’re not competing.

“The support is for everyone”

“Once you start bringing competition into it, you don’t want to come across as weak. I know that sounds awful, but talking to someone who has no competitive interest at all can sometimes help.

“The ‘Be More Rob’ and ‘Be More Kev’ couldn’t be more important. Be prepared to put your arm around a friend and say ‘are you ok?’ Be prepared to go the extra mile for a friend. The support is for everyone.

“If you look at them as friends, what they’ve done for the sport and for each other is amazing. If people were a bit more Kev and a bit more Rob, I think we’d be better off.”

Regarding the abuse Marcus endured, he added:

“I don’t think anything has changed as people still swear, but the support and the sport actively saying that this is not appropriate and not acceptable is now clearer than ever.

“The fact that there was such an outpouring (of support) back then shows those individuals that you are not welcome in this sport anymore. The abuse is taking us to a beautiful place.

“It really depends – do you want your child or your loved ones to be next to someone who is racist, homophobic, misogynistic? I would advise you not to.

“We did a training at work the other day, active bystander training. When you hear that, if you think ‘I’m not so sure about that’, you’re not the only one in the stands who thinks that.

“Once one person speaks their mind, all the other people who have the same beliefs as you – but don’t shout about it – will help and support you.”

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