Monday, 4 April 2011
Wayne Rooney: In His Defence.
We have an issue in our society and it grates on me more than anything else, its called double standards. Its when we do something and then when others do the same we condemn them for it.We expect them too be punished for it because we think they should be above all of that because of who they are and what they do for a living. It is not just limited too sport either we do it in our every day lives as well when it suits us and meets our own agendas.
When a player from the club we support does something that is clearly wrong on the pitch, be it a late tackle, a subtle handball, a dive in the area, we smile at each other and laugh and exchange the odd word or two happy that our player got away with it. When the opposing player does the same thing we vent our anger, shouting abuse at the player, the referee, more often than not questing the referees parentage in doing so.We will call that player a cheat and sing songs about where that team is from in an unflattering manner, using swear words not thinking for a moment about the young ears that are around us. This is acceptable to both sets of fans as it is deemed as part and parcel of the game and we all do it or have done it at some stage.
However the events on Saturday in the game between Man Utd vs West Ham over stepped the mark in a way that I find unacceptable and I don't mean Wayne Rooney's language. Was he wrong to do what he did? I think so yes, he knows that as well I'm sure hence the apology he issued on Sunday. That should have been the end of it as far as I am concerned but it wasn't was it. Lets look at the context of when it happened because I believe this is important to understand the whole scenario. His team was losing 2-0 in a game that they needed too win to continue their march towards the league title. He had just scored the third goal of a hat-trick that had put his team in front of that game, his passion and emotions got the better of him so what did SKY SPORTS do? They shoved a pitch side camera in his face too get his reaction and when he swore the moral army were up in arms. You cannot have it both ways, you cannot have access all areas and then react when it doesn't suit you, that's wrong and contradicts our own behaviour at other incidents that have occurred in the match. Perhaps that is the issue though, its okay for us to do it but not them, quick someone go and tell the players that I'm sure they would understand.
The way the game is run now and the money that is paid into it fans expect managers and players to be at their beck and call as soon as the game is finished. When emotions are running high we expect players and managers to have a reasoned argument as to why their team has lost and if they say something that we don't agree with we condemn them for it. Not only that but the FA will then charge them for it and ban them from touchline's or pitches showing how tough they are. These people are human beings and say and do things in the heat of the moment when their emotions are at their highest. How many of us have said something that we regret the moment it leaves our mouths? I know I have and if your honest you have as well.
I'm not condoning the swearing as I said before but get a grip people please, at any football ground you will hear bad language from the terraces, you will also hear it on the pitch as well, I bet most of you if not all of you that condemned Rooney have sworn at a football match. Go on be honest, I bet you have, so what on earth gives you the right to condemn him? Because hes rich? He plays for Man Utd? Get over yourselves. I'm not a huge Rooney fan to be honest, he is a superb footballer, but his attitude sometimes lets him down as does his actions outside of the football ground, however that is his private life and I don't have to live or work with him so that's for others to deal with not me, but we are doing what we always do in this country which is build up players to hold roles they didn't ask for and then beating them with a stick the first chance we get.
Do we want a game full of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Linekar's fantastic players all of them but characters? No give me a Di Canio, a Cantona, a Best, a Gascoigne any day of the week as these guys are characters. Yes they have their faults but they make it worthwhile paying your money to go through that turnstile and watch them. They give us something to talk about, they may not be the best behaved, but in one moment they can show a flash of brilliance so perfect that we talk about it for years after the event. For that we forgive them their indiscretions, knowing that at the end of the day it is them that pay the ultimate price when they have to look in the mirror at what they have done. They have to face their wife's, their children, their families and tell them why they did what they did. Not us we don't deserve that right in my opinion.
Yes Rooney is paid a fortune, so what I bet you would take the money given half the chance. Did he ask to be a role model? No he didn't all he ever wanted to do was play to football. There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that teaches our kids to look up to footballers as role models. Times have changed, the role models should be coming from within your own family, boys should be taught to look up to a male relation, I know that's not always the case I understand that, but to heap that pressure on someone who kicks a ball about for the love of the game? That's not right in my opinion. Its our issue, its right that kids should have people they aspire to be, whether its a rock star, a novelist, a footballer, a doctor or a lawyer, but the moral fibre that runs through them must come from the people who bring them up and not a footballer. It is up to us to teach them what is right and wrong and not a footballer, you had them you teach them, stop heaping the blame onto others that is bad parenting.
Does what Rooney did make him any worse than Ashley Cole who took a gun into training and shot someone with it, who then got away with no punishment at all from the FA or the Police? Does it make him any worse than Diouf who lent over a player who had just broken his leg and shouted abuse at him and who had no punishment taken against him by the FA? Does it make him any worse than Balotelli who was caught throwing darts at people and got away with no punishment from the FA? No it doesn't and its about time people started looking in the mirror at their behaviour towards players on the pitch and the language they use before they start signalling people out because of what they say in the heat of the moment.
The FA are spineless, their respect programme is a joke and the players know it, the managers know it and the fans know it. Rooney is being targeted for who he is not because of what he did. At a recent game for my team Dagenham and Redbridge our centre forward John Nurse was booked for running over to us and hugging some of us in a moment of pure joy, how is that right?. You either accept that footballers and their fans swear and get on with it or you take the passion, the pure unbridled joy out of football for those that play it and those that watch it. You are then left with a group of men who pat each other on the back shake hands and run back to the halfway line, fans clap and cheer and say 'Oh well done number 9 what a spiffing great job that was' I know what I would rather have and I bet deep down you do as well.