THE ONLINE mocking of Ty Vickery is unfair and the forward recruit should not be wearing the blame for Hawthorn's plight, former teammate Trent Cotchin says.
Vickery, who struggled in his first three games with the winless Hawks and has since been sidelined with a back injury, has been the subject of online abuse that former Tiger Matthew Richardson says has gone too far.
Cotchin and Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney agreed such abuse was unfair and it was a challenge for AFL players to block it out when their form was wavering.
"The way I look at it is everyone's entitled to an opinion, and everyone has one. Just like armpits, some stink, some don't," Cotchin said on Thursday.
"The reality is, Ty is a fantastic person, he's been given another opportunity at another football club, granted they haven't won a game yet.
"I don't think you can rest results on one individual. That's the beauty of our team game, it's 22 that need to come together and perform on game day and even during the week.
"He's a great person, he obviously wants to perform at his best. It's not like he's sitting there trying not to perform."
Richardson believed the social media commentary on Vickery was too harsh and bordering on abuse, defending the 26-year-old's form in a struggling 0-4 team.
"He's gone to a new club, he's injured, he'd love to be out there trying to show his wares in the forward line (but) Hawthorn are hardly playing great footy," the former Tigers spearhead said on Melbourne radio station 3AW.
"I mean, Jack Gunston's struggling to get a kick in the forward line.
"I just reckon the memes about Vickery at the moment are too harsh and I don't think people realise the effect that can have on the individual."
Viney agreed with Richardson's sentiment that the abuse was unfair, saying it was hard not to take cutting comments from football supporters personally.
"You try not to, but there's so much out there and certainly when you're not performing it can come down on you pretty hard," the Demons midfielder said.
"It's no wonder some guys battle with mental health, because of the publicity of it all.
"It can get to you as much as you try and block it all out."