You’d be forgiven for mistaking the back paste of most newspapers for the front pages in the past few weeks. Corruption allegations, civil war in the game’s governing body, racism and debate over whether or not a convicted rapist, Ched Evans, should be given a second chance in the game. It’s all very glum and it raises the question as to whether sport, and football in particular, should be judged on different moral grounds than any other occupation? Going by the last few week, the game seems to be in a rather confused state as to what’s right and what’s wrong.
Malky MacKay’s return to football with Wigan led to heated debate as to whether he should be allowed back into the game so soon after making racist and anti-Semitic comments in private text messages while manager of Cardiff. However, it was his comments by his new club’s chairman, Dave Whelan, that drew most criticism as he defended MacKay’s use of anti-Semitic comments and is himself now under an FA investigation.
Then you have the Ched Evans situation at Sheffield United, where the club backtracked on their decision to allow the player resume training at the club after pressure from sponsors. he point has been raised that if Ched Evans was in almost any other profession he would be allowed back to work. If he was a builder, he would be allowed go back to being a builder and if he was a shop assistant he would be allowed go back to being a shop assistant. Should football have a different set of rules for players have served their time? The very valid point has been raised that Ched Evans has shown no remorse for a crime he was found guilty of but would the feeling be any different if he had of shown a degree of remorse? I would suggest almost certainly not.
You also have a situation where players at one club will be sacked on the spot for a racist comment and at others will supported. Where do you draw the line? Should football be any different? Why are there rules different from one club to another? If a multi-million pound superstar steps out of line, is that anymore okay then a youth player at the club? More and more often we have seen these instances come into our game and more and more often these questions have gone unanswered. It has led to a rather unsavoury and dangerous president whereby clubs are ignoring what may be morally right because of that old cliché that football is a ‘results business’. A wage slip with an extra few zeros than the average person and the celebrity lifestyle that footballers enjoy these days should not exempt them from the same rules we all live with and by the same token, it shouldn’t mean they’re dealt with more harshly.
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