Much-maligned forward Ty Vickery is the AFL's first victim of social media trolls according to one of his junior coaches.
Vickery, 27, who had a year remaining on his contract worth about $500,000, cut short his polarising career this week after 125 games with Richmond and Hawthorn.
The No.8 pick in the 2008 draft frustrated fans with his inconsistency over his nine-year AFL career.
As a result, the ruckman/forward was frequently ridiculed on social media whenever he put in a lacklustre performance.
One of Vickery's junior coaches, who has remained in contact with him, told ESPN that years of online vitriol was the catalyst for his premature retirement.
"Can you name a player that has retired because of abuse on social media? I can't. Tyrone's the first," the coach, who asked not to be named, told ESPN.
"There hasn't been a player who has copped more from footy fans than him. It reaches a point where enough's enough and footy's not worth it ... he ended up hating the game."
Belying his imposing physical presence, Vickery is an intelligent and sensitive man who achieved an ENTER score of 92 in year 12 while recovering from a knee reconstruction.
Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney has previously implored the AFL to tighten social media regulations to protect players from online trolls.
Cooney says the venomous criticism by "the faceless keyboard warriors" reached a climax at the back-end of his career when his performances slumped.
"You can't hope but notice it. I experienced in my last couple of years playing AFL playing for Essendon. You get to a point in a game and I was thinking when I missed a kick, I'd think 'gee, I'm going to cop it on social media after this'," Cooney said.
"You cop a barrage of abuse. There needs to be more accountability [for what you say on social media]."
Former Magpie and Bulldog Travis Cloke, who retired in October despite having another year left on his contract with the Dogs, also said the pitfalls of social media were dangerous for some players.
"Social media's brought a whole new element to pressure and I guess I was probably fighting something for a few years. I probably matured a lot in the last couple of years that I didn't really know about, an issue that I was pretty naïve about," Cloke said.
"I feel sorry for the kids that are coming through now. I guess it's part of the industry. We're all here because media's what drives it, but you don't do it in the same way anymore.
"You can pick your phone up - we've all got them - and they're amazing devices but at the same time, they're bloody s*** for what they can do."