02 December 2009

Footballing Ethics; The Enigma

By Dr3

If I ask any non-Manchester United fan, any non-Premiere League flag-flyer, any random football fan across the entire world, “What do you think about Cristiano Ronaldo?”, there’s a unanimous rant about him being a sissy, diver, soft, b%^ch, flop, p#$$y. If I ask anybody about Balotelli, there’s a prolonged discourse about his ‘ridiculous’ petulance, and immaturity, and inflated ego.

The point is, I wasn’t trying to get a date, I asked about him; as a player. When did football become about the man behind the player? When did a man’s job performance become more about his background and lifestyle and personality, rather than his trade? Do I need to specify “What do you think about him AS A PLAYER”?

I’m not going to even attempt to defend, refute or even support the stance people have about players and their personalities. Maybe we have forgotten that like us; footballers are human beings. Am I refuting that a bad attitude can (not will) affect a person’s performance? No. Can a person’s personality be destructive, and disruptive? Definitely. But if when you consider a player, you consider his belief system, morals, etiquette, and ethics, then certainly we have gone back to times when these ‘entertainers’ are our slaves, the gladiators of our footballing ‘Colosseums’.

Adebayor is a mercenary. Cristiano is a brat. Balotelli is a ‘prima donna’. Robinho is a brat-mercenary. And I can go on and on, and on, and on. My question is though, why is Cristiano’s “girlie-ness” a factor when comparing him to Messi? When did class become a pre-requisite for footballing quality? Is Henry now no longer a goal scoring threat? Is Adebayor no longer a good striker? Should Cristiano’s Ballon D’or be stripped? We all want our heroes to have the qualities that as a collective, society adores. Yes, being a class act makes you a legendary sporting personality (Maldini). Yes, you will be remembered beyond death for your love of humanity, and your symbolic charisma as both a human and a sporting legend. But being a miscreant (see Maradona anyone?) doesn’t take away your quality, or your legend, nor should it. PERIOD

I write this saddened that, as supporters we have reduced ourselves to gossipers and paparazzi-like judges of a player’s character, rather than his quality,as if we are somehow ‘holier than thou’. Cristiano’s long shot, heading, free kicks, crossing, speed, and skill, are all diminished and void, because he likes his hot pants extremely hot. No, none of us would taunt fans who spoke of our parents washing “elephants’ balls”, back in Africa. No, I wouldn’t be petulant with a stadium chanting that there is no such thing as a black Italian. No, I would never leave a job in search of better status and wages. Me? No, unlike these irrational, disgusting specimens of sporting heroes, I (insert yourself) would have the class, ethical values, and strength, to just ‘deal with it’ as a professional.

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