*Warning, this article contains discussions around mental health and suicide as well as explicit language. The author of this article is not a medical professional and would therefore encourage any readers who have been affected by this content to get in touch with the mental health and suicide prevention charity CALM. Their contact details are at the bottom of the article.*
In the middle of all the recent high-profile football news, one story stood out, but for all the wrong reasons.
April 29th 2021 was the day that Manchester Utd destroyed Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford in their Europa League SF first leg, and over in Spain Arsenal were grabbing a lifeline against Villareal. Also in Spain, Granada were severely hampering the title challenge of Barcelona, by unexpectedly beating them 2-1.
Elsewhere Danny Ings is in a race to be fit for this summer’s European Championships, and UEFA have confirmed they will join the Social Media Boycott to help counter racism and abuse.
Abuse. That leads very nicely into the story, that if proven, overshadows anything else that happened in football that day. In fact, it overshadows most things that have happened in football across many years.
David Cox, a journeyman striker currently playing for Albion Rovers in Scotland’s League 2 was an unused substitute in the match versus Stenhousemuir. At half time Cox, sitting in his vehicle, posted a harrowing video statement, which if accurate, shows the depths to which the game has sunk.
Cox said ‘ Second half just starting Albion Rovers-Stenhousemuir and I have left the stadium. I wasn’t playing tonight, I was on the bench.
‘One of the boys in the Stenny team, we were having a bit of to and fro and they had a go at my mental health. Told me I should have done it right the first time.
‘Some folk might not think it’s a big deal, but I’m fed up listening to it. I don’t get paid enough for it.
‘If they had put me on the park, I’d probably have broken the boy’s legs deliberately. I tried to speak to the referees about it, but they didn’t want to know because they didn’t hear it.
‘So I’m going to do something about it and for me it’s leaving the game. I’m done with it. I either keep playing and I’m going to batter somebody on the park, which is not good, and will result in me being the bad one.’
In context, David Cox has been battling depression since he was aged fifteen, and has previously attempted suicide. Cox was very open about his struggles, and in an interview with John Beattie from Radio Scotland back in 2018, Cox recounted numerous occasions where opposition players taunted him, calling him a ‘psycho’, and mocked him about ‘slitting his wrists’
It has taken an amazing amount of strength for a current professional footballer to be so open about his struggles, in a very unforgiving environment.
Therefore it is deeply ironic, that in an era where players are boycotting social media over abuse, one of their fellow players quits the game over alleged abuse from one of his fellow professionals.
Here at FCNA we send our best wishes to David Cox, and applaud him for his courage.
You can contact the CALM helpline between 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year or if you are in need of text-based support, you can use their webchat facility.
CALM helpline numbers:
Nationwide – 0800 58 58 58 | London – 0808 802 58 58
Webchat available at thecalmzone.net