Does crying make you any less of a man? Of course not. Crying is an emotion, like joy and fear. It's perfectly natural. So why is it considered a bad thing to do if you're a man?
Last Sunday (16th July), Roger Federer and Marin Cilic played against each other for the coveted Wimbledon title. After Federer won the first two sets, Cilic shed a few tears. Was it because he was injured, he was losing or was it the size of the occasion? The answer is it doesn't matter. But that didn't stop Piers Morgan.
Morgan condemned Cilic's crying. Even though last year, he sympathised with Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also crying after he was injured early on in the Euro 2016 final, as was pointed out by an eagle-eyed tweeter.
Serious question, Piers. You tweeted this in the Euro Final. This is also a final. There is literally no difference whatsoever pic.twitter.com/tfzibDuIE6— Freddie Daniels (@freddiedaniels) July 16, 2017
"You can see what this means to him." Piers Morgan rightly pointed out that the European Championships title meant a lot to Cristiano Ronaldo. But the Wimbledon title also meant a lot to Marin Cilic. So how is it OK for Ronaldo to cry but not Cilic?
Morgan then tweeted this:
Everyone's thinking the same thing, I'm just not afraid to say it.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 16, 2017
This is embarrassing to watch. https://t.co/tQfS2RmN0s
Piers Morgan thought that everyone was thinking the same thing as him but actually, most people were thinking he was a stony-hearted wazzock, including tennis commentator David Law.
And let's say he wasn't injured. This is why people don't reveal mental health issues. Because of idiots like this. https://t.co/rMWrEixaV8— DavidLaw (@DavidLawTennis) July 16, 2017
And Piers Morgan responded with this tweet:
Ah, of course..— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 16, 2017
Mental illness, the new catch-all excuse for losing. https://t.co/Kl3RXYFHL1
Sports and mental illness have always had a strong link. Recently, Aaron Lennon was detained under the Mental Health Act after he was spotted in Salford in a poor mental state. He was then treated in hospital for a stress-related illness. He received a lot of support and a couple of months later, he returned to training with the Everton squad ahead of the new season. Days later, he tweeted a message thanking eveyone for their support and told other sufferers to talk about mental illness and seek support.
Another recent example is Steven Caulker. The luxurious lifestyle of a footballer and his promising potential got to his head and he ended up wasting loads of money away on persistent gambling and drinking himself to oblivion to numb his pain. His life had spiralled out of control. He also said that he constantly contemplated suicide.
Making fun of the link between mental illness and sportsmen is very low. A lavish lifestyle and talent don't guarantee mental stability. But this wasn't the first time Piers Morgan ridiculed mental illness. Piers Morgan tweeted (how else?) that "life's tough" and men should "get a grip."
I'm not convinced by this new trend of male public soul-bearing.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 5, 2017
Time for our gender to get a grip, methinks. Life's tough- man up. https://t.co/aez9eFoT76
But the fact is male depression sufferers have attempted to "get a grip" because of these kinds of messages. They end up feeling worse and worse. Men having to keep their feelings hidden solves nothing. They'll end up not talking to counsellors or doctors or even their loved ones about their suffering because they are afraid that they would look weak. And failure to talk about depression has a strong link with the high male suicide rate.
Last year, the Guardian reported the number of suicides in England and Wales reached a 20-year high. In 2015, 2,997 men committed suicide - a 28% rise on the amount in 2007 - which equates to 77% of the total amount of suicides. The amount of male suicides has also been around the 3,000 mark in 2013 and 2014.
Piers Morgan also said in May that he takes mental illness seriously and tackling mental illness is important, but how is ridiculing mental illness and criticising men crying going to help? If anything, that proves he doesn't take mental illness seriously at all. Taking mental illness seriously means having to empathise, be supportive and think about how depression sufferers would think. Male depression sufferers could be reading his tweets and feel worse than they already are. They would think talking and crying would make them less of a man. Piers Morgan making a mountain out of a molehill only has a negative impact.
Piers Morgan isn't the only one who does this. This is a common thing. Since childhood, men have been taught not to cry and "man up". What proof is there that it has done any good? There needs to be more openness, more support and fewer Piers Morgans. If you want to cry, cry. If anyone judges you, don't take it to heart. You're only human; you're allowed to cry.