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Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo speaks to negative online comments

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WATCH: For two straight seasons, Cody Fajardo has been voted the Saskatchewan Roughriders Most Outstanding Player. However, he has also had to deal with numerous negative comments on social media when the team isn't doing well – Dec 8, 2021

Cody Fajardo had an emotional moment when describing what it means for him to be the Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback.

“It’s everything,” said Fajardo, holding back tears during Monday’s season-ending media session. “Tough at times when you’re not winning, when you’re not playing well.”

“I wouldn’t want to play for any other team or any other organization,” Fajardo said. “They’ve been incredibly great for me and my family and my support. It’s just tough when people call for your head when you do everything for this team.”

Despite struggles this season, he says, “I go out there and give it everything I have.”

Read more: Winnipeg Blue Bombers hold off Saskatchewan Roughriders in West final

And while the franchise means a lot to him, he also means a lot to Rider Nation. Not only has Fajardo been the leader on the field and in the locker room, but the 29-year-old has a positive presence on social media interacting with rider fans on a daily basis.

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However, he has had to put up with negative online comments.

“There were some dark days throughout the season when we were winning games but people still found ways to talk bad about our offence or talk bad about me,” said Fajardo. “Social media has gotten to a point where it’s so toxic, and it’s unfortunate because I think it could be such a platform to reach out to people, reach out to fans, young kids, and be such an inspiration but it gives people an opportunity to hide behind a computer screen and say whatever they want about you.”

For the last two seasons, Fajardo was voted the team’s Most Outstanding Player, leading the Green and White to the West Final in both of his years as a starter. And while he knows there are pressures that come with being the starting quarterback in Saskatchewan, he admits this year has been tougher than most.

In fact, the ups and downs of a season can take a toll on an athlete’s mental health.

“I like to interact with all of my fans because I think it’s such an awesome platform that I do have,” said Fajardo. “I am a human being at the heart and it’s just tough sometimes going through the whole year and you give everything you have and people don’t see that or people don’t give you the respect.”

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Fajardo isn’t the first Roughrider starting quarterback to receive negative comments on social media. Darian Durant had to put up with it during his 10-year career in Saskatchewan. Some of the negative comments he got during the 2013 season helped motivate him to win the Grey Cup.

Read more: Grey Cup arrives by Air Force chopper at Hamilton’s Bayfront Park

“Tired of the naysayers. Tired of the haters. I get it on Twitter every day,” said Durant in 2013 after the championship game. “Pressure just comes from having the most passionate fans. When you don’t get it done and you have the most passionate fans, there’s going to be some naysayers.”

And as Durant did, Fajardo is now looking to bring a championship back to Saskatchewan, silencing his critics in the process.

“I just work hard every day and I want to do everything I can to bring this team a Grey Cup because I know they deserve it and they’ve got our back, but it can be mentally tough sometimes.”

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