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Column: When will the world realize athletes are human beings, too?

It’s about time.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

People tend to act like athletes are superheroes. In their eyes, the athlete can do no wrong. They look up to them and are inspired by them. Therefore, when they get injured, fans feel deeply for them. If an athlete does make a mistake, it is a huge shock to fans.

Shocking, I know, but no athlete is perfect, and it’s about time people start to realize that. Athletes are human beings just like the rest of us.

I feel like this column is fairly long overdue. Fans will turn on their favorite athletes in seconds if that athlete makes a pivotal mistake. There has been numerous instances just in the past few years just at Ohio State that I can call to mind.

In the 2019 Fiesta Bowl against Clemson, Justin Fields threw an interception to end the game in a loss. Everyone put the blame on him. Duane Washington Jr. missed a three-pointer against Oral Roberts that would’ve sent the game into double overtime. Everyone put the blame on him. E.J. Liddell received DEATH THREATS as a result of missing a free throw during that game. WTF is wrong with people?

The latest comes after Ohio State’s heartbreaking loss to Georgia. Noah Ruggles missed a 50-yard field goal attempt that would’ve upset the Bulldogs and sent the Buckeyes to the National Championship. Unfortunately, he has received a lot of hate on social media as well.

Do you think that anyone is beating themselves up more than the athletes themselves? Don’t you think that they replay that one play that could’ve changed the game over and over in their mind? They really don’t need to receive hate on top of it.

Additionally, one play never truly makes or breaks a game. Yes, some come at more pivotal times than others, but every single play in the game affects the outcome. If the defense didn’t give up 42 points, then the Buckeyes could’ve won. If the run game got going a bit more, if Stover and Harrison didn’t get injured, etc. You cannot blame one singular play.

Most importantly, these college athletes are KIDS. They are 18-22 year olds (unless they’re Stetson Bennett, but even as a fully grown man, he shouldn’t be treated like this). Liddell was 20 years old when he received death threats. What type of grown adults attack a twenty year old over a basketball game?

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports just as much as the next person, and they bring me so much joy — along with heartbreak. That’s the great thing about sports. They unite people, they give people something to look forward to and provide happiness. But at the end of the day, it’s just a game.

These athletes playing is what provides us that joy. I don’t know how some people can be their biggest fans one minute, and then attack everything about them the next. I’m so grateful that these athletes sacrifice so much in order to provide us with this entertainment!

These athletes are human beings, just like us. They’re trying their best every single time they step on the field or the court. No one cares more about the game than they do. So please, do not ever attack an athlete because of a mistake they made during a game. Do not ever leave hate messages. There is so much anger and hate in the world already and sports are supposed to be one of the few things that bring happiness. Let’s just appreciate the game.