Hull FC forward Gareth Ellis believes its time to cut social media abuse out of the sport.
Referee Rob Hicks was recently the target of online abuse, but Ellis believes the issue runs further and must be addressed.
Writing in his latest Yorkshire Post column, he said: “When these people are hidden behind a keyboard and computer screen or phone, that can escalate quite quickly.
“And it’s not just on social media.
“I hear plenty of stories of people getting abuse face-to-face from people at amateur games.
“Generally, referees will get criticised in some shape or form particularly when a side has not got the right end of the result.
“It has always been the case but we do need to get it cut out of the sport.”