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OAKLAND, CA -- Earlier this season, after a rough outing, Oakland A's reliever Liam Hendriks found himself the victim of cyberbullying, and it hasn’t stopped ever since he got on social media. He’s far from alone here.
He found comments from offhand insults and taunts to death threats to him and his wife Kristi because of his performance on the baseball field. This is far from abnormal for pro athletes. Hendriks decided to vocalize some of these threats by reposting them to his Instagram account to call out the hate that athletes, and others alike face daily on social media.
"I stayed off social media for years," said the Perth, Australia native, Liam Hendriks. "This is the first year I've had social media. That was by choice and for a reason because of the cyberbullying that goes on. It's something that affects everybody, not just kids at school."
That's a focal point of Liam Hendriks life beyond the ball field as he wants to make sure that attention is brought to this issue for others like him, and for the children who are victims of bullying.
"I want them to know that they're not alone, that this doesn't just happen to them," he explained. "No matter who you are, you're going to get those people who are out there just to hate. It's an issue that affects everybody, especially with how much kids are on social media these days."
This season, Hendriks and his wife Kristi partnered with Athletes Brand to help bring much needed attention to cyberbullying with a t-shirt that Liam co-designed with Athletes Brand that reads; Strikeout Bullying, with a silhouette resembling Liam’s delivery behind it. You can get the shirts at AthletesBrand.com for a limited time with proceeds benefiting Stand for the Silent, an organization that helps educate young people on the impact of bullying on other people's lives.
"We've wanted to do something," Hendriks said. "We've always spoken out against cyberbullying, but I think this year was one where we really decided to focus on it. It's something that has affected both my wife and me, and we decided to take a stand against it and do what we can to try to prevent the cause."
Hendriks says he and his wife will continue to be vocal about bullying, and focus on ways to make a positive impact on this ever growing issue.
"That's definitely our plan, to try to speak to groups and just go over the fact that they're not alone. If they need an ear, just shoot me a message." says Liam.
About Liam Hendriks
Liam Hendriks is a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. He’s an Australia born player, and 2019 MLB All Star.
Stand for the Silent
Stand for the Silent exists as a platform to allow Kirk and Laura Smalley to share their story, and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.
For more information visit StandfortheSilent.org
About Athletes Brand
Athletes Brand is an athlete clothing and brand management company with more than 1500 pro athletes on their team with a shared goal of helping athletes stand for something, and make a positive difference in the world through story. More at AthletesBrand.com.