Once again a scandal in a players private life is threatening to overshadow events within our national game.
For the past few months there have been murmurs in the football world regarding an England player and a super-injunction. Following the John Terry-Vanessa Peronccel-Wayne Bridge saga, the public interest has again been peaked about footballers and what exactly goes on in their personal lives.
The Ball Drops
During Friday evening, whispers on the Internet stated the ‘unnamed’ player had failed to renew the injunction. By Saturday afternoon, we all knew the player in question was the married, and father-of-one, Wayne Rooney.
Sunday was spent with regular news bulletin’s on Rooney possibly being omitted from the squad for the Switzerland match. A fact later confirmed as untrue by the FA Press Office. While the tabloid newspapers were full of stories about his alleged affair with an escort girl, including several pages of interviews with said female.
England’s footballers were again being talked about as sordid, duplicitous and immoral young men. Rather than as talented and privileged individuals.
Frivolity Before Football
With England playing their second qualifying match against Switzerland on Tuesday; it cannot have come at a worse time for the team and their beleaguered manager, Fabio Capello. As this story broke they were preparing to travel to Basle.
It may do the other players well that all eyes will be on Rooney rather than their individual performances. Although it’s a pity the behaviour of these well-paid players has again become more relevant than team decisions and first full caps.
Of course everyone is entitled to their privacy but in an age where sports stars make a high percentage of their income by selling themselves as a brand, they must expect this high level of interest in all aspects of their life. Surely, they cannot expect to sell certain parts of their lifestyles to the media and public yet complain when the less favourable points are publicised.
Role Models, My Arse!
"You are role models whether you like it or not." (Guardian Sport : 6/9/2010) Who said that? Wayne Rooney did. Somewhat unfortunately one might say, they are role models and ambassadors for our country on a world-wide scale. What example are they sending to their fans? What examples are they showing the world, of England and its sports stars?. So if he is aware of this fact, what does this say about his alleged behaviour?
It’s possible that he doesn’t care. Why would he? He’s rich, he’s young and is living the dream most boys dream of. This scandal won’t affect him past the abuse he will receive from opposing fans. Unless of course, Colleen leaves him. But how likely is that? Lets be honest, why would he care what any of us think? Who are we to him? Other than the people that contribute towards his wages, that is.
But maybe it is not all his fault. Society as a whole has to take a certain responsibility as they laud those who have done very little to deserve it. Everywhere, and including the world of football, we have became a nation that praises celebrity over substance. And maybe that is part of the problem, the pressure we put on these young men to behave to a level they cannot meet. We expect them to behave in a manner that we do not expect of ourselves.
They may be well paid, idolised and living their dream. But when all is said and done, they are young men who happen to be good at playing a ball game.
And more importantly, just like the rest of us, they are just human.