Michael van Gerwen says Gerwyn Price "should no longer have put himself in that position" after the world No 1 donned ear defenders for the duration of his crushing defeat to Gabriel Clemens in the quarter-finals of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
Price wore cumbersome ear defenders for the fifth set of his 5-1 drubbing on Sunday night time to drown out the boos from the crowd, and later wrote on Instagram that he was once not sure whether or not he would play in the World Championship again.
Van Gerwen - who swept apart Chris Dobey 5-0 later in the night time to continue to be on path for a fourth world title - says he would now not have completed what Price did however had sympathy for a participant who is "going thru a hard period".
Title preferred Van Gerwen stated of 2021 champion Price: "In his position, with how large he is in darts, I would not have finished that however he is going via a hard period.
"[Wearing ear defenders] has in no way been achieved in darts earlier than and additionally he would not want it, however he is in a challenging duration so he is wondering about things.
"He mustn't put himself in that function however it really is darts unfortunately."
Sky Sports Darts pundit Wayne Mardle stated Price's movements confirmed a uncommon signal of "frailty" and hopes the Iceman's recommendation that he may additionally in no way return to Ally Pally is simply a "knee-jerk reaction" to a heavy defeat.