By Phil Lanning
ROB CROSS has backed football clubs in their Twitter ban after his own social media “death threats” abuse.
The 2018 World Champion admits he is sick of constant stick after starting to find his form again in the Unibet Premier League.
Cross, 30, resumes his title bid against Scot Gary Anderson on Monday night and also lashed out at Sky TV pundit Wayne Mardle as “irrelevant” after recent comments for pausing on his throw.
He said: “If I want to pause, if I don’t want to throw for the bullseye I won’t and to be honest, I pay my own bills, I feed my kids. I take responsibility for what I do on that stage and no one else.
“No-one else can tell me how they think that they should play the game because I pay my own bills. If Wayne wanted to have that much of an opinion, tell him to pay my bills and I will throw the way he wants.
“When he starts feeding my kids mouths, he can do that but apart from that, if he’s not doing that, he’s irrelevant.
“I get a lot of stick on social media, actual abuse about my form and my pause before throwing a third dart. I’ve had family death threats and so much more, it’s vile.
“I didn’t get any of that abuse when I was beating Michael (Van Gerwen) and Phil (Taylor) before winning the World Championship in 2018 and I was pausing before my last dart then. The pundits didn’t criticise me then on TV, they said I was ultra cool under pressure!
“Trouble is, stuff is said, I get analysed and I understand that’s what pundits are paid to do. To be fair, no one minds constructive criticism. But at times it’s not constructive, it’s just disrespectful.
“But when players get criticised that then turns into abuse online. Every player feels the same about this.
“Social media is toxic, we all know that. A lot of it I know is now just part of the job. It is my responsibility in the way I use social media at a low level, not to read the abuse. But people need to understand that sometimes the stuff they say can create issues.
“It’s such a shame because the vast majority of fans are great to communicate with and I love some of the banter. I think every player loves that element of social media. Sadly a few are ruining it for the rest.
“I totally stand with all the footballers who have received racial abuse. I stand with the football clubs Rangers, Birmingham and Swansea who have stayed off Twitter for a week to make a point.
“Social media needs user verification so abuse can be identified. It’s such a simple answer, like a driving licence for online use. It makes you wonder why it’s not being sorted.
“I’ve had a really tough year away from darts with family grief and all sorts. It’s tough when you constantly are dealing with new problems which are being created elsewhere!”
Cross finished his first block of Premier League fixtures with a defeat to Peter Wright but believes he has been much more “calm” this year after a tough 2020.
He added: “I was happy with my week obviously. I threw away a win against Peter (Wright) which was annoying.
“Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the control again. I’ve been very controlled this week, I think I’ve been calm. In a way, I feel in control of my own game at the minute.
“If you looked at the averages last year, it was erratic. If you look at me, if you would have asked me I would have felt erratic and that was just me.”
Images by Taylor Lanning.