The Albion Rovers striker David Cox has said he is retiring from football after allegedly being mocked by a Stenhousemuir player over his mental health during Thursday’s 1-0 win in a Scottish League Two fixture.
Cox, who was named on the substitutes’ bench for the game at Ochilview Park, walked out of the stadium at half-time after the incident. The 32-year old said in a video on Facebook he was quitting the game after “again having to deal with some mental health shouts at football”.
Stenhousemuir said in a statement they would investigate a “verbal altercation” between Cox and their player Jonathan Tiffoney and refer the matter to the Scottish Football Association. Reuters was unable to reach Tiffoney for a comment.
Albion Rovers said on their Twitter feed: “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”
The club also said: “David has been subjected to abuse numerous times throughout his career. If the team were aware of what was said before restarting after HT, they all agreed they would have walked off the park.”
Cox has previously spoken about living with anxiety and depression, and told Sky Sports in 2019 that he had considered killing himself after being abused over his mental health issues while playing for Cowdenbeath.
“We were having a to-and-fro with the bench,” he said on the Facebook video. “They had a go at my mental health and told me I ‘should have done it right the first time’. I tried to speak to the referees about it but they didn’t want to know because they didn’t hear it … So I am going to do something. I am leaving the game.”
Stenhousemuir said the allegations on both sides were “serious enough” to warrant a more detailed investigation. “We have spoken to the players involved, David Cox (Albion Rovers) who was on the bench, and Jonathan Tiffoney (Stenhousemuir) who was playing,” the club said in the statement.
“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 be referring this to the Scottish FA tomorrow [Friday] and will work with them and our colleagues at Albion Rovers to investigate the incident.”
In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact the mental health charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or visiting mind.org.uk. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.