Craig Bellamy has labeled the online trolls who targeted former Storm star Curtis Scott’s family with death threats a “disgrace”.
Scott’s move from Melbourne to Canberra over the off-season was almost over before it began when he was arrested on Australia Day, hit with five charges and accused of assaulting a police officer.
The Raiders star’s name was cleared this week however, when police bodycam footage of the incident showed the 22-year-old being brutally kicked, pepper-sprayed and tasered in an arrest the Magistrate ruled ‘unlawful’.
Scott admitted he was relieved to be able to get on with life in the nation’s capital after fearing his NRL career was over following an agonising nine-month wait to have his case heard.
However, it’s since been revealed Scott has been the target of vile online abuse, including death threats aimed at his family.
Former Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is in the midst of pushing for legislation reform after he too was made the target of cyberbullying during his final days with Brisbane.
Bellamy said he was disgusted by the damage online abuse is having not just on people involved in the game but their families as well.
“I think it’s a disgrace. Some of the stuff that Anthony Seibold went through as well,” Bellamy said after Melbourne’s 36-20 win over North Queensland.
“We don’t want that. Whatever anyone does, at the end of the day, to be copping that sort of stuff… it’s bad enough players or coaches or people in the game copping that… sometimes you know that’s going to happen.
“It’s when your family gets thrown into it that’s when it’s really wrong.
“We shouldn’t have to put up with that with players, but family shouldn’t have to put up with that. Any sort of family.
“That’s crap, that’s bulls**t.
The abuse aimed at Seibold is currently an NRL Integrity Unit matter and is also under Queensland Police Investigation, while the recently axed Broncos coach has lobbied government for stronger cyberbullying legislation.
Bellamy applauded Scott for bringing the abuse to light, but admitted he wasn’t sure what else the game could do to protect players and coaches from online abuse.
“I don’t know how you stop that, I’ve got no idea how social media works. But when you hear stuff like that I’m not really keen to find out,” he said.
“If some people think that’s OK I think some people have a warped sense of what’s right and what’s wrong.
“I don’t understand it, and don’t really want to understand it. It’s hugely unfair when families get put under pressure.”