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An idol, a role model, a hero to many. Footballers have undoubtedly shocked many of us recently following various publications of their private lives which the media have been only too happy to exploit. In recent years scandal has somewhat overtaken the symbol of Premiere League footballers, recent casualties of course being John Terry, Peter Crouch and of course Wayne Rooney. For the first of these three, when his affair with his own teammates ex-girlfriend was broadcast, just under a week later Fabio Capello decided to demote Terry from his role as Captain of the England team. But is this right? Should one’s personal life, albeit morally questionable, affect his professional career? Well when you’re being paid such ridiculous sums of money, and are being heralded gods by many, I think one cannot be looked at without the other.
The role of the footballer within society has transformed over the past decades. Long gone are the days where the sport was played as a passion, a calling. The player was proud and honoured to play the beautiful game, a sport adored so much by so many. These days the game itself is merely a small fragment of the football career. Celebrities in their own right, players are now propelled into the public domain. Money is, in my opinion, ludicrously proportioned to footballers in today’s society, being itself more appealing than playing the game itself. No longer are people wishing to play the game they love for the sport itself, they are now looking for the fame and fortune that goes hand-in-hand with the career.
My greatest hate about this though is that everywhere across the country there are children and fans that look to these players with admiration. They are idols, resting on the bedroom walls of school boys all across the country, coming to life via a game of Fifa among friends, argued about in the playground and in pubs, their honour defended by children who quite frankly are too young and innocent to understand the difference between what a player does on the pitch to what the does behind closed doors. Would they really be so proud then, if it was their own father who was acting in such selfish and deceitful ways?
If your local plumber was embroiled within some of the scandalous affairs that are rife between some of the high profile football players, if he paid someone else thousands of pounds for sex ignoring his pregnant wife, to be honest, you wouldn’t really care as long as he got the job done. This cannot be the case for this career though.
As I’ve debated, John Terry, as Captain of the England Team, was at the heart of Britain’s flagship football team. Upon the decision to demote Terry the Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe discussed the wider implications of the Captain’s role, saying “On the field John Terry is a fantastic player and a good England captain. But to be the captain of England you have got to have wider responsibilities for the country”. This is the strength of my argument.
But how Bridges could be expected to continue to be lead by Terry following the growing allegations is questionable. Even though I find it extreme to remove Terry’s captaincy and do not wholly agree with it, I understand completely that something had to be done. Although seemingly extreme, an England Captain can never get off as lightly as our local plumber.
Pride and Honour are qualities most of us would be overwhelmed to receive on a day-to-day basis, yet most of us never grasp how it feels to be looked on as such. Yet the Wayne Rooney’s and John Terry’s of this world are ordained with these gifts for simply playing a game that they love, yet ignoring the fact that they are at the heart of many people’s passions all across the country. Maybe if they came to appreciate fully the honour they have undeservedly been granted across the country they would be more grateful for their positions, and maybe the countless schoolyard debates up and down the country will not be meaningless.