Esteemed GAA expert Ursula Jacob has been open about the online abuse she has received, calling the problem “out of control”.
He took to Twitter after a Benchwarmers.ie article was posted by Facebook page GAA Craic, which has almost 300,000 subscribers.
The article was shared in a post titled “Ursula Jacob Comes in for Hammering on The Sunday Game Panel”.
This was followed by a quote that said: “We make fun of the games being on Sky, but thank goodness there’s an option to turn Ursula Jacob off.”
In an interview with South East Radio today, the pregnant four-time All Ireland Camogie champion revealed how she attended a prenatal appointment at Wexford Hospital, upset by the abuse as she decided to fire back at Twitter online trolls.
She said: “I was quite upset when I saw the article on Sunday, I’m not going to lie. I was pretty hurt. I’m human at the end of the day like any other boy. I felt Sunday night and Monday morning that it still bothered me and still upset me.
“I was at Wexford Hospital for a prenatal appointment, currently pregnant.
“And I sat in the waiting area and started writing what effectively became my statement that I released last night.”
Ursula spoke about how closely she is scrutinized and how often her Wexford accent and gender are targeted.
“Very rarely do they comment on my knowledge, analysis, or contribution because they know that’s up to standard,” she said.
“I’m not here for tokenism, I’m not here to invent numbers. I have a voice and I want to speak my mind.
“Why can’t I talk about a game of hurling as much as any man can talk about a game of camogie?”
She explained that she doesn’t usually pay attention when nasty comments are made about her, but was “quite upset” when she saw the article online.
“I was quite angry because the headline was so misleading. It tried to imply that I was being hammered at some comments I had made about the players or the game itself, which wasn’t true,” she said.
“I’m at the end of my strength. It’s gotten to the point where something has to happen to protect people like me and others. We (experts) don’t mind being on a public platform or people commenting on our analysis or they disagree with us. I have a problem with someone abusing me and making personal, nasty comments.
“They are faceless cowards. Would that person walk up to me on the street and say, “I can’t stand you”? I will not change my Wexford accent or change who I am. I’m proud to be from Wexford, I’m a proud woman to be at Sunday’s game. It is an honor for me.”
Jacob explained that she wrote the Twitter post hoping it would make at least one or two people reconsider before making personal and hurtful comments.
Wexford Labor Party TD Brendan Howlin spoke on South East Radio following Jacob’s comments.
He branded her a “fantastic ambassador for Wexford”.
“We are very proud of the Jacob family and of Ursula in particular for all they have given to Wexford and our country,” he said.
Deputy Howlin said the idea that hearing a woman’s voice in sports would upset someone was “shocking”.
Mr Howlin, who introduced the Harassment Harmful Communications and Rated Offenses Act 2020, said: “You should be just as safe on social media as you are in a public park because it’s a public space.”
He explained that subjecting someone to the kind of abuse Jacob endured was a criminal offense under the law.
He added, “Those keyboard warriors out there had better be aware that they are committing a crime that could land them six months in prison in county court, or two years in prison if charged with a felony. These are no longer trifles.
“This can’t be an unregulated space like the Wild West, where you can say the most obnoxious and vicious, untrue and hurtful things about anyone you care about. That cannot and will not be allowed.”
Speaking of RTÉ driving timeMs Jacobs said online abuse and “narrow-minded” views must be eradicated once and for all.
“In the end it’s up to you. It wears you down. I am a very strong person with a brilliant network of people behind me. My family and husband have all been so supportive and I’m very good at supporting myself,” she said.
“I don’t believe in tokenism or just being there for the sake of it. I have very passionate views on GAA, I can totally lean on talking about hurling or camogie but when the personal attacks are commenting on my Wexford accent or the fact that I’m a woman talking about the men’s games speaking, I just find it that unacceptable.
“I don’t think I or other women need to tolerate that because we’re trying to expand the discussion about gender equality and … include more women at a high level. I think sometimes people think women should stay in their lane and talk about camogie or women’s sports. I think we need to forget this narrow-minded attitude of some individuals and I don’t think it’s a majority.”
Earlier today, Benchwarmers.ie posted an article entitled ‘Ursula Jacob fires back at online trolls’, saying that all RTÉ experts on their website have been heavily criticized, male or female.
“While we probably shouldn’t give them wind in their sails, people are interested in the comments both online and on TV,” the article reads.
“We apologize to Ursula or any of the experts on RTÉ that we may have been offended by reposting comments and opinions online that may have been negative for a member of the RTÉ panel.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/rte-pundit-ursula-jacob-reveals-she-was-in-hospital-for-antenatal-appointment-when-she-decided-to-hit-back-at-out-control-online-trolls-41816532.html RTÉ expert Ursula Jacob reveals she was in hospital for a prenatal appointment when she decided to fight back against online trolls who were out of control