Social media can often be a toxic place for anyone, but those in the public eye are undoubtedly targeted more frequently. Athletes and sporting stars are abused on a daily basis with rival fans and trolls taking no break from slandering them.
You would think that disabled people and athletes should be exempt from the toxicity, but that is far from the case.
Irish golfer Brendan Lawlor is the number 2 ranked disabled golfer in the world and he played at the ISPS Handa Championship on the DP World Tour last month.
The Dundalk native made history back in 2020, when he became the first golfer with a disabilty to play on the DP World Tour. Brendan Lawlor was born with a rare bone disorder Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, which is characterised by a shorter stature and limbs.
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After playing at the event, Brendan Lawlor was subject to some horrendous online abuse and he shared some of the comments which were thrown his way in a tweet posted late on Wednesday night.
I got a beautiful start in Japan, had a fabulous week, and the DP World Tour shared a video which went viral,
It got some amazing feedback, real positive, but unfortunately it got some real negative.
I just wanted to get on and highlight how bad the negative was and, if you weren't in the frame of mind to take this negativity, of what it could do to people.
I'm lucky enough where my condition has never affected me. I've grown up all my life with negative comments and I blew them off with the breeze, but I wanted to hop on and highlight these comments for other people
Just some thoughts. Thank you for all the people who continue to support me on my journey as a professional golfer. pic.twitter.com/oSPpLJyTLT
— Brendan Lawlor (@BrendanLawlor97) May 3, 2023
Reaction to the abuse of Brendan Lawlor on social media
Many people were quick to offer their support to Brendan Lawlor after this video, with artist Niall Horan, who owns the management company that represents the golfer, tweeting his support to his compatriot.
So proud of you @BrendanLawlor97 ! @DPWorldTour https://t.co/odh3hHIL4L
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) May 4, 2023
Other members of the golfing world and fans of Lawlor also took to Twitter to show their support after he was abused while at the DP World Tour.
What a role model you are for young, aspiring, talented and courageous athletes like yourself Brendan https://t.co/AgPMpEwbfG
— Fergus Fleming (@FergusFleming1) May 4, 2023
Keep going, Brendan. Thankfully, the vast majority of people hugely admire what you and all the disability athletes are achieving. 💪 https://t.co/hxerV1om16
— Brian Keogh (@IrishGolfDesk) May 4, 2023
Legend 🙌 keep going @BrendanLawlor97 breaking down barriers https://t.co/rvhKRCG0oJ
— Peter Finch (@PeterFinchGolf) May 4, 2023
Brendan Lawlor is a role model for so many people out there and after highlighting the abuse that he has received on social media since appearing on the DP World Tour, it shows the type of character he is.
The Irish golfer is not only a credit to his country, but also to the game and other disabled people around the world, as he continues to show that his disability won't hamper him from playing at the highest of level and achieving his dreams.