During the recent world cup, a well-known (men's) cricket blogger got into a bit of a ruck with one of her followers. The conversation went back and forth a bit, but it can be summed it in two (paraphrased) posts:
Follower: Sarah Taylor is rubbish.
Blogger: You're a sexist pig.
I declined to get involved at the time, because I didn't want to be accused of sexism; but perhaps I should have done?
The follower was quite forthright (and a bit 'absolutist') in his criticism of SJT; but he wasn't criticizing the team, still less the game; so (in my opinion) he wasn't being sexist.
In fact, arguably, it was the blogger herself who was being sexist, by expecting 'special' treatment for SJT. (Think about it this way - if Matt Prior had gotten three ducks in a row, would she have been blinking an eyelid at the opprobrium that would doubtless have followed?)
If our game is going to progress and be taken seriously, it has to be okay to criticize the players.
(But criticize the game itself... and you'll have me to answer to!)