In an age where most people don’t trust anyone (that means everyone) to tell the truth or to be figures in the public eye that can be looked up to, I believe that footballers (as the new rock ‘n’ roll stars) have a duty to behave in a way that our young people in particular can look up to.
I know that sounds like quite a mouthful and there’s probably a few well worn clichés in there but it is still a fact of life. I will give you an example of what I mean by influence. If my grandson was buying a pair of football boots (which he does regularly by the way) who do you think will have more influence on what he buys, yours truly or say Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo?No prizes for guessing correctly on that one but that influence extends to a lot more than simply the decision making process surrounding our next generation’s prospective new footwear.
It influences young people’s hairstyles (something I don’t have to worry about), their clothes, their speech and ultimately their very lifestyles themselves.So, after all that, what do we get from these sporting icons? Many like David Beckham and Messi take their role as ‘ambassadors’ very seriously indeed but at the other end of the spectrum we have the likes of John Terry and Joey Barton. On top of that, right throughout the game there seems to be a general acceptance that ‘anything goes’ in order to gain an advantage.
So week in, week out, we have the spectacle of players diving to win penalties and free kicks, players feigning injury to get fellow professionals sent off and so on and so forth. This type of morality, or more correctly put, this type of amorality isn’t confined to players as manager shift positions on so-called principles, almost at will. Remember last season when Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini stated that Carlos Tevez was finished with the club after his substitution antics in the Champions League only to use him the moment he saw an advantage in doing so.
Sadly in some parts, football no longer recognises notions likes ‘principle’ or ‘role-model’ as they have been completely over whelmed by money and the greed that accompanies it. Let’s just be thankful for the stars and clubs who understand their role and behave properly.