Wales head coach Warren Gatland sees Owen Farrell's choice to take a break from international rugby as a signal highlighting the mistreatment faced by players and their families.
The Saracens skipper announced his decision to "prioritise his and his family's mental wellbeing" despite leading England to a third place finish in the recently concluded Rugby World Cup in France.
Yet, Farrell faced booing during the tournament in France and encountered criticism on social media following his sending-off in a warm-up match against Wales, leading to a four-match ban.
Gatland, who has picked Farrell for three British and Irish Lions tours, thinks Farrell's prominence in the sport will shine a spotlight on this issue.
"In many ways Owen's decision represents a watershed moment for the game," Gatland told the Daily Telegraph.
"It is a sad day for rugby and a sad day for sport to see someone of Owen's standing in the game have to make the decision to walk away from the international stage just to protect his family.
"But, ironically in making his decision, it might be the best thing for the game in that it will highlight some of the terrible things that are happening in rugby, particularly on the social media front.
"Given what Owen has achieved in the game, he probably doesn't realise, but I think it will have a positive impact and make people sit up and make a stand."
Gatland mentioned that being off social media had shielded him from most abuse, but he was targeted by someone who obtained his phone number.
Additionally, the 60-year-old admitted being impacted by the abuse directed at his son, Bryn Gatland, following a missed goal while playing for the Auckland Blues.
"Ultimately the rugby community cares about people and I think it is time for the vast majority of us who are disgusted about what is happening to stand up for each other a bit more," he added.
"If you see something online that is out of order, shoot it down."