After the horrific machine gun attacks on the Togolese national football team that claimed the lives of two shortly after the team coach entered Angola on its way to the African Cup of Nations, the players returned to their homeland to mourn the dead and also to consider whether or not they would participate in the tournament. The Press Association announced that there was confusion over whether Togo would play. The players said yes, their government said no.
The controversial nature of this story is probably the reason why sports stars in general have left scarce social media footprints relating to this act of terrorism. Moreover, rather than talking about the details in and around the incident, I did expect to find athletes using social media to be offering condolences and sympathy, but no dice. For example, Micah Richards, Manchester City team-mate of Togo captain Emmanuel Adebeyor, has so far refrained from posting on his team mate’s ordeal via Twitter or his personal website.
The issue clearly provokes food for thought into deeper matters than sport, such as terrorism and political unrest. This is good enough reason that athletes don’t use their social media platforms to discuss issues of this ilk that could ultimately damage their brand and get them into unneccessary hot water. I am though interested to see if you think that the Togolese government was right to step in in the name of safety and in respect for those who lost their lives, or should have the players been given the chance to compete in the tournament in honour of the victims?
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