A Scottish footballer who has been vocal on mental health issues and a failed suicide attempt has revealed why he walked off during a game following taunts allegedly related to the subject by a member of the opposition.
David Cox, who started as a substitute for Albion Rovers, took to social media following the incident which saw him quit football.
In a personal and heartfelt address on Facebook, he accused Stenhousemuir captain Jonathan Tiffoney of badmouthing him at half-time in Thursday’s clash at Ochilview.
“The second half is just starting: Albion Rovers and Stenhousemuir. I have left the stadium,” Cox confirmed.
“I wasn’t playing tonight I was on the bench, one of the boys on the Stenny team…we were having a wee bit of to-and-fro on the bench and they had a wee go at my mental health…Told me I should have done it right the first time,” Cox explained, in reference to his suicide attempt.
“So I promised myself the next time it happened I’d walk off the park. Obviously I wasn’t playing [but]…I am done with football. Completely,” he vowed.
“Some folk might not think it’s a big deal, I’m f*cking fed up listening to it.
“Don’t get paid enough for it and they’d put me on the park I’d probably have broken the boy’s legs deliberately,” he admitted.
“I tried to speak to the referees about it, [but] they didn’t want to know because they didn’t hear it,” Cox revealed.
Solidarity with Albion Rovers’ David Cox, hope he’s getting the support he needs in the aftermath of this evening. It’s a disgrace someone thinks it’s anything approaching acceptable to say that to a person, & hugely disheartening to hear it isn’t the first incident of this kind.
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) April 29, 2021
“Same sh*t we’re talking about all the time, we talk about racism and the personal issues that get brought up in football, but if it’s not heard by officials or whatever there’s nothing they can do about it,” Cox said of the perceived futility of offenders being brought to justice.
“So I’m going to do something about it and for me it’s leaving the game. I’m done with it.
“Because I either keep playing and I’m going to batter somebody on the park, which will result in me being the bad one.
“Once he was called out on it he knew what he said and tried to deny it,” Cox claimed of Tiffoney.
“Nothing gets done about it, nothing is going to get done about it. Football is full of sh*t with the things that they say and it’s going to continue to happen.
“So, aye, I’m done. Hanging the boots up for good. I’ve just walked away there, I’m off in the middle of the game. I’m not doing it,” Cox signed off.
We stand with David Cox. The unforgivable incident that occurred during tonight’s match must not be downplayed. David, you have all at Albion Rovers and Scottish football’s unconditional support. #MentalHealthMatters
— Albion Rovers FC (@albionrovers) April 29, 2021
In a statement, Cox’s club Albion stood by the charge with a spokesman saying: “The health, safety and well-being of everyone associated with Albion Rovers is of paramount importance to us.
“Football is a place for all and we believe it should be enjoyed without fear, favor or prejudice.
“We are aware of an alleged incident that occurred during this evenings match and have been in touch with David Cox to offer our unconditional backing and support,” it added, while also changing its social media profiles to show solidarity with their now former star.
Forced to respond to the furor, Albion’s rivals in the 1-0 away win said that they were aware of “a verbal altercation that took place between players”.
“We have spoken to the players involved, David Cox of Albion Rovers and Jonathan Tiffoney of Stenhousemuir,” the club confirmed.
“Both players are making claims of serious and wholly inappropriate comments being made during the game that have implications for player wellbeing and mental health.
“Whilst we accept that things can get said during a game, we believe the allegations are sufficiently serious enough to merit a more detailed investigation.
“We will therefore be referring this to the Scottish FA and will work with them and our colleagues at Albion Rovers to investigate the incident,” Stenhousemuir concluded.