‘A beautiful moment in the beautiful game’: Fulham players celebrate with young disabled fan who was bullied online | UK News
Fulham footballers players have been praised for creating “a beautiful moment in the beautiful game” after celebrating a goal with a disabled supporter who had been bullied online.
Several of the London team’s players ran over to Rhys Porter, who was sat in the front row of one the stands, after Aleksandar Mitrovic put Fulham in front in the second half.
The 13-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, plays as a goalkeeper for the Feltham Bees disability team.
After posting a video of himself saving a goal on the social media platform TikTok, Rhys received hundreds of abusive comments from other users.
Fulham responded by making Rhys an honorary member of their team and listed him as a first team goalkeeper on their site.
Rhys later cried tears of joy after the club arranged for him to meet one of his heroes, defender Tim Ream, on BBC Breakfast.
Ream tweeted about yesterday’s celebration after the game against Bristol City ended in a draw, saying: “Not the result Rhys Porter asked for but another cool moment shared and experienced.”
Twitter user Mark Twomey shared a video of the celebration and wrote: “A beautiful moment in the beautiful game.”
Rhys took part in a fundraising campaign for the disability charity Scope earlier this month after he was targeted by the online bullies.
The youngster told Sky Sports News at the time: “I made an account (on TikTok), it was called ‘Rhys the Wall’, I was going to post TikToks of me in goal and I posted about four or five and I posted a video of me where I made a save, and then it went viral and it had loads of horrible comments.
“It made me feel quite sad, but I try and get over it and I try and make the positives come out of the situation.
“I joined a disability charity and I’m doing 20 saves a day in line with the Paralympics and I’m trying to raise some awareness for disabled people. You can find the positives out of a situation if you look hard enough.”
His mother Kelly Porter added: “There were a lot of hate comments, a lot of really nasty comments, people being opinionated saying things like: ‘you can’t play football you’re disabled’.
“It was shattering to read, but at the same time, we know that life and reality can be quite harsh.
“We didn’t feel the need to hide it from him but just to address it with him and try and move forward.”