Alfie Barker is publicly shamed for tweet towards Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter
The latest person to be publicly shamed by what they said on Twitter is Hitchin Town footballer Alfie Barker, 19, who thought it a good idea to abuse Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter in odious fashion. Tweeted Barker: “Big hype just for a disappointment like the nine months leading up to your child’s birth.”
After last night’s Bournemouth v Arsenal fixture in the Premier League ended 3-3 – the Cherries had led 3-0 – Barker added: “At least you didn’t lose your kid.”
Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter’s baby daughter died in 2015.
That the tweet was designed to wound is clear. Arter has been candid about the “devastation” he felt at the loss of his child. “To be honest, at times I felt a bit envious when I’d see the lads with their families,” said Arter, “a lot of them had babies around that period, which was just a coincidence. It was strange – if I heard them talking about things to do with their children, for example, someone saying, ‘I haven’t had any sleep tonight, it’s doing my head in,’ I would think: ‘I’d do anything to have a restless night.’
When questioned over his tweet, Barker did the cowardly thing and “initially claimed his account had been hacked,” says the BBC. But it was him. And now he’s an ex-player with Hitchin FC. The club has issued a statement saying: “In the light of the player’s irresponsible and anti-social behaviour, we are terminating Alfie Barker’s registration and relationship with the club with immediate effect.”
And Codicote FC, where Barker is on loan, adds: “We have no choice but to terminate our relationship with him.”
That Alfie Baker is a prat is beyond question. But does he deserve to be sacked? Does his punishment equal the gravity of the offence? Barker did apologise. What now for him? Ugly tweets designed to cause offence – could they be termed ‘sick jokes’? – have defined him at just 19.
“The truth is, rarely can a response make something better,” writes Dr. Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection, “we what makes something better is connection.”
Will any club now dare connect with Barker?