Tuesday 17 July 2018

Tom Daly considering Twitter break after arrest over online abuse

Tom Daley
Tom Daley

TOM Daley and his coaching team were today set to discuss whether he should take a break from Twitter after receiving malicious messages that led to an arrest.

British Olympic Association chef de mission Andy Hunt said Daley needed to make a decision over his use of the social network website in the wake of the reaction to his failure to win an Olympic medal in the men's synchronised 10m platform yesterday.

PA Sport understands Daley - who Hunt claimed received 50,000 tweets on the day of Friday's opening ceremony - will be advised to keep off Twitter two days before he competes in the individual version of his event on August 10.

Asked if the 18-year-old needed to stay away from the website from now until then, Hunt said today: "That is absolutely something that the coaching team will discuss with Tom.

"They need to make the decision based on what they've experienced over the past 24 hours.

"Everyone knows if you use social media extensively, you have to accept you get bad as well as good.

"Sometimes bad is wholly unacceptable, as we experienced last night, and that's been dealt with by the relevant authorities."

Dorset Police confirmed a 17-year-old had been arrested in Weymouth in the early hours of this morning "on suspicion of malicious communications".

It is alleged @Rileyy_69 sent a tweet about fellow teenager Daley, which read: "You let your dad down i hope you know that."

Daley, whose father Rob died last year from brain cancer, retweeted the message and responded, saying: "After giving it my all... you get idiots sending me this..."

Hunt branded the @Rileyy_69 tweet - which the BOA had Twitter remove - as "a threat" but insisted Daley had not been affected by it.

"I've met this morning with Tom's coach and some of his other support staff," he added.

"Tom isn't affected by it and the team are absolutely focused on getting ready for the next round of competition."

Despite the abuse of Daley and the expulsion of two athletes from London 2012 for sending offensive tweets, Hunt insisted the BOA did not need to review their social network guidelines.

They have largely left it up to individual sports and athletes when and how often they tweet, revealing today that the women's water polo team had elected for a blanket ban, while hockey had a three-hour blackout around match time.

Hunt added: "We always said two years ago this was going to be the Twitter Games."

When news of the insensitive tweet about Daley spread, @Rileyy_69 attempted to apologise.

He posted: "@TomDaley1994 I'm sorry mate i just wanted you to win cause its the olympics I'm just annoyed we didn't win I'm sorry tom accept my apology."

He later added: "please i don't want to be hated I'm just sorry you didn't win i was rooting for you pal to do britain all proud just so upset."

Deputy mayor of the Olympic Village Duncan Goodhew, a gold and bronze medallist in swimming at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, described the behaviour of the Twitter troll as "appalling".

He told ITV's Daybreak: "It is appalling that people behave that way. Becky Adlington, in fact, suffered probably far worse abuse, as well, if you remember the kerfuffle some years ago.

"I suppose that social media in one sense is fantastic, but turned the wrong way round, it is very, very personal and it destroys people's lives.

"So I think people should be much more careful about what they say."

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport