The sister of Warriors backrower Bodene Thompson has written a passionate open letter on Facebook aimed at "every person that has ever written a negative comment about an athlete's life on social media".
Trisha Cameron's lengthy post follows more than a week of drama for the Warriors, following their embarrassing 42-0 Anzac Day thrashing by Melbourne Storm, and the ensuing fallout that saw Thompson and five other players dropped to reserve grade for breaking team protocol when the group embarked on an unsanctioned night on the town into the early hours of last Wednesday morning.
The group, which also included Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino, Konrad Hurrell and young front-rowers Sam Lisone and Albert Vete, were later ruled ineligible for test selection ahead of this week's NRL representative round.
It emerged on Monday that the penalties were handed down after five of the group had admitted to having mixed prescription pills with energy drinks during their night out, with Hurrell the only player to tell the club he did not indulge.
The group have since faced a barrage of criticism from media and disgruntled fans, prompting Cameron to launch a passionate defence of the players while condemning those directing negative and insulting comments at them via social media.
"I'm sure everyone at some day or stage of their life have been confronted with these words, however meaningful or meaningless they may be to you. Just as we have all in some type or form experienced BULLYING," Cameron wrote.
"To whether you were the bully, the one that was getting bullied, a bystander or even known a loved one that has been bullied, we have all been confronted with the very REAL impact it can have on an individual!
""Sticks and stones might break my bones, but words can never hurt me". There was one time where I believe this to be true, but truthfully words hurt and can and have shown to be able to kill as well."
Cameron goes on to highlight the difficulties and pressures the players face each week as professional footballers, referring to "the tireless work off field, the extra gym sessions, the dieting, the injuries, the rehab," which she has witnessed first-hand.
"I have seen the good and the bad that comes with having a brother who plays in the NRL," Cameron added. "I feel angry, sad, heartbroken, irritated, helpless and useless as I sit here and read the hurtful and hateful comments targeted at a loved one. I truly hope you never have to feel this way about someone you love, as everything they stand for gets questioned and criticised."
Cameron finished with a plea for fans and would-be trolls to, "Please think before you post something negative online. You have no idea how many lives you can be affecting with a single negative comment," and signed off with "Yours truly, A concerned sister, mother and fan."