US tennis star Sloane Stephens took to Instagram to reveal how she was bombarded with hate messages, including racist and sexist abuse, following her third-round loss to Germany's Angelique Kerber at the US Open.
The 2017 US Open champion received more than 200 negative messages filled with anger or hate after Friday's 5-7 6-2 6-3 defeat at Louis Armstrong Stadium in New York.
On Saturday, September 4, she shared in her Instagram Story, "This type of hate is so exhausting and never ending."
She said "I am human. After last night's match, I got [more than 2,000] messages of abuse/anger from people upset by yesterday's result. It's so hard to read messages like these, but I'll post a few so you guys can see what it's like after a loss."
The World No. 66 in her message further wrote, "This isn't talked about enough, but it really freaking sucks." She added, "I'm happy to have people in my corner who support me. I'm choosing positive vibes over negative ones. I choose to show you guys happiness on here, but it's not always smiles and roses."
As Offensive as It Can Get
Some of the messages and comments she shared were racist in nature, including ones that contained a monkey emoji, NBC News reported. The messages included graphic threats, misogyny and even rape threats.
CNN reported that one message read: "I promise to find you and destroy your leg so hard that you can't walk anymore @sloanestephens! Fixer and corruption like you must be ban forever in jail! I hope you enjoyed your last moments on court today."
Twitter and Instagram in Blame Game
Some Twitter users put the blame on Instagram for the growing abuse against athletes while others suggested that it's completely baseless to blame one particular platform as the trolls exist everywhere.
One Twitter user said, "Instagram is owned by Facebook who have zero interest in limiting their user base. More users= more $$ for them. Until there is a financial or regulatory consequence, they will not act. It's disgusting."
Another wrote, "This is Instagram's fault, there's no way they can't track these people." One comment read, "So many athletes talk about it and Instagram does NOTHING."
Some netizens supported Sloane and suggested her to "block the cowards, report them, use AI to track and make it difficult for such people to have space on your platform." Another user wrote, "Sloane, you should get somebody take care or your professional social media to filter this. You are a great champion, please, keep on working and know that they are much more supporters than haters."
Yet another wrote, "This is disgusting. This is too common. Black women always under attack." One user twitted, "This is not a race issue, don't make it one. Every player gets this type of threats."