25 February, 2020

Last week, an incident involving Renée van Laarhoven (Dutch national team player and Sander De Wijn’s girlfriend) and Carolina Pacheco (an Argentinian hockey fan) caused an unprecedented scandal in the hockey world.

De Wijn was playing for the Oranje against Los Leones in the Pro League in Buenos Aires. Carolina was watching the game, with a sign asking for the #12s shirt.

Renée saw a picture of Carolina and her sign on Instagram, and presumably wanted to forward it to someone, commenting “Fat Troll, it would have been better if a skinny woman from Argentina had this

Instead of forwarding the picture on, however, she sent the text as a direct message to Carolina!

The poor Carolina shared the message online with a remarkably calm response, simply saying “I never had bad intentions. I don’t think it’s right to receive this aggression, it wasn’t necessary. Never be such a person”.

The story was widely shared on social media, with everyone coming to the fan’s defence, including Argentine superstars Granatto, Retegui, Albertario and more…

Renée has since changed her Instagram profile picture but no formal comment has been made. On the other side, KNHB (Dutch federation) and the FIH just shared some words on a tweet so far.

In the era of social media, where screens and keyboards make words feel less personal, it’s essential to remember this is not the case, as horribly reminded by the recent death of Caroline Flack. So please, before typing anything and pressing send, ask yourself: would you say it to that person’s face? From Real Hockey we demand respect inside and outside the pitch.

Written by Giulio Ferrini
Image by Real Hockey