Tabloid readers forget the positive side of footballers

Posted by - September 7, 2010 - Ranting and Raving, Rumours

Revelations fuel an often inaccurate opinion

Here we go again with another overpaid, bigheaded footballer …plays away and thinks he is so secure in the belief that his money will buy silence…silly deluded plank…When are these big heads going to realise that they are not wanted for their looks (certainly not in the majority of footballers) but for the revenue these women can make off them….what a bunch of t******….Will they ever learn….. (The above quote is taken from a response to the Rooney story on the News of the World website).

It has been a bad week for Wayne Rooney, this much is clear. Perhaps more importantly it has been a bad week for our illusions of football. We have taken another step towards the realisation of disillusionment. That our heroes are no less human, no less flawed and no less horny (in Wayne’s case) than you or me.

Footballers are on a pedestal; they are treated as role models not because of their behaviour, character or demeanour, but because of their skills, money and lifestyle. But this pedestal, this gold-plated stage they are placed upon is simply in our minds.

It is the English way, our warped mantra, not just applied to sports stars but politicians, actors, anyone who we deem to be worthy of celebrity status: “Build them up to knock them down”

Rooney is not a God, he is certainly not a saint, and he is a sinner, just like we all are. Sure we don’t all pay for sex with prostitutes or cheat on our wives (though many do), but that may be partly due to the fact that we are or were not paid £100,000 per week aged 22 for kicking a ball around a pitch better than an English youngster has arguably ever done before.

It is Tuesday, and Wayne’s story of misadventure is three days old. The Daily Mirror has dedicated five of its first seven pages to the story. We hoover these stories up like coke in a VIP section of a club. It is a Neanderthal system of economic gain: A paper traps a player, there is moral outrage, papers sell. The tabloids do not care whether the reaction is anger towards the player, sympathy for the partner or despair for the illusion. Papers still sell.

But maybe, just maybe, we can get to a stage where the moralistic vitriol the papers spout isn’t all we believe about footballers.

Last month Chelsea launched the Chelsea Foundation, an independent charity to expand its current work. Chelsea already raise £1.5million per season for charities. Arsenal raised £820,000 for Great Ormond Street hospital last year. Aston Villa have Acorns Children’s Hospice on their shirts.

Simon Morgan, Head of Community at the Premier League, reports that the 20 Premier League clubs have invested £111.6million in the last three years in charitable projects. This is 3.7% of turnover.

Individually there is a similarly positive picture. Didier Drogba has pledged £3million to build a hospital in the Ivory Coast. Craig Bellamy has invested £650,000 in projects in Sierra Leone. Wayne Rooney has recently become an official Ambassador for SOS Children’s Charity. The examples are far too numerous to list.

But are these not players we have been told to despise? Didier Drogba, isn’t he moody, isn’t he the summary of all that is wrong with foreigners in the Premier League with his histrionics. And Bellamy, isn’t he disruptive and badly behaved? And Rooney, doesn’t he go around sleeping with hookers?

These players are not angels. In fact some of them, Rooney included, are immature and at times immoral. This means that they should not be role models for our children, but parents can ensure that, not the players. It also doesn’t mean that they should be demonised

The reason tabloid newspapers do not shriek “Premiership player caught doing charity work” is because it does not sell copies. I desperately hope that 99% of the people reading the revelations understand this. Judging by their comments, I fear that this is far from the case.

  • coudra

    well done:)

  • Tim Lovejoy

    Oh please stop… it IS NOT an english thing.
    I know its the culture to think everything revolves around oneself but that quote is idiotic.
    Ever been to Spain?
    The magazines there are vicious to a level you would be stunned. The only thing worse Ive ever seen was Venezuela where the country used to have media laws dating from the 40’s and where the press could openly call the dark skinned president a monkey (Colin Powell was less than amused when he visited a few years back and there was a caricature of a monkey with banana that represented Chavez).
    Italian press? Insane as well but politicized on top of that plus with added bonus of mob pressure on top.
    Greeks? Over the top.
    Mexico? Yup, them too.

    its not an english thing, its a celebrity thing. You are an actor or athlete who is in the spotlight and thats the name of the game.

    You think american athletes dont go through that?
    Heck its worse for their college athletes who are in effect minor league players in a multi billion a year industry and get paid nothing (yes, they get education but listen to many of them talk and ask yourself how many are literate. In english). These kids are under the same pressures and if someone by chance buys then a meal, lends them a car or gives them a gift like a sweater, they are treated like rapists and murderers. because their amateurism hypocrisy is worse than anything the olympics ever had.
    The media and internet based media in the US is much, much bigger than in the US, the tabloids and TMZs and Perez Hiltons reach a huge audience.
    it might not be as vicious as some other countries but there are just so many more of them.

    Oh yeah, Argentina!!! Wow, have you EVER seen their press and what they say?
    England is not even close to them in this arena (just like in football!!!).

    Rooney was banging whores while his wife was pregnant. No it doesnt make him a rapist or even a Tony Blair like murderer. it makes him a king sized douchebag.
    I think that these actions should be talked about (but not to the extent it is) because it helps remind the feeble minded taht these immature kids are NOT role models.
    Then again, i saw once at an athletes rape trial of his daughters, fathers show up at the court and have their daughters take pictures next to the incestuous rapist.
    It might be over the top to drag these things so long but those are the trappings of fame.

    I have no problems with Crouchy getting drunk or even cheating on his girlfriend and Ashley Cole’s girlfriend works in a field where monogamy isnt exactly popular so I dont care. But the Terry thing was about a teammate and trust in the lockerroom and WAS newsworthy.
    Rooney didnt break any laws but this does speak to his character and lets face it, the PR machine was really working overtime on him these past few years who he was a changed man, a leader, a future captain…. someone who was changed and whose marriage was used heavily in this campaign.
    Thats why I dont mind this.
    Same with Tiger Woods who used his family as props for his image but has no concept of honesty, integrity and respect.
    Or Ribery who is a religious man but somehow doesnt mind banging underage hoes (its ok, Mo was bangin 9 year olds so its ok with the religion I guess).
    Those guys are all hypocrites who are using their marriages to further their image like Father of the Year Terry.
    Those hypocrites get no sympathy.

    Ashley Cole never used his family (he has none yet) for props and neither did Crouch, so i could care less than theyre cheats.

    I know its a fine line between both for some but life is not black or white.

    As for charities, I work in the music industry and bands are told by labels and agents that charity pays off in great publicity. (Kids are worth gold, sick kids are worth platinum but old folks not so much). Bands are sat down and given a list of charities they should get involved and told how much each is worth in terms of PR and also how much is expected from them. Do you want to show up at a dinner once a year and maybe sign a few things later on for a charity or do you want to give between 3 and 5 days a year for different PR functions to maximize the publicity you can milk out of it. They organize the lists by how much commitment you are willing to make of your time.

    Oxfam is one of the favorites for this (great business, here in town they have a few offices in some of the ritziest buildings in town) as long as you dont have anything you want to do on your own with their help, they dont work that way.
    And from what ive gathered athletes are corralled EXACTLY the same way.

    Not all artists are opportunist but every artists agent and managers will milk those charity ‘work’ for all theyve got.

    Charities are wonderful for image and are being used for public perception manipulation.

    The one thing that is told to everyone is do not support anything that might be seem as
    potentially damaging for your image. Sure, you might think that the israeli bombings of Lebanon and palestinian camps massacres are war crimes but support a cause like that in the US and your career is as good as dead.
    When is the last time an athlete has stood up against war and killings?
    I think Romario wore a shirt during the bombing of Yugoslavia and Steve Nash came out against war a while back.
    Being against war is NOT in your interest. But having your clients strap on guns and shoot with the trained killers your/others govts send, well that is gold.
    War sells well at home. War and death and killing is good for image because ‘our boys are protecting our country’ and all that bullshit that comes with it.
    Stand up against the war and you will be ostracized (the Dixie Chicks were the only ones opposing the war from 2001 to 2005 in the US and suffered. Once 2006 came around and Bush was a lame duck, then the cowards came out of the woodwork.)

    Stay safe, dont rock the boat and dont support anything your conscience might want you to because it could ruin your career.

    yes, its cynical but the management teams are the ones using charities for publicity.

    its really just as despicable as the tabloids.

  • Daniel Storey

    Ok, but raising money for charity by using your profile is good whatever reason you do it for, and its certainly better than not raising any.

    Of course people manipulate it, but thats exactly my point. Why do we have assume that all footballers are doing this? Why for once cant we just think that maybe footballers have some good in them. I certainly dont give to charity as a status symbol, so why are they? Surely the point im making about the fact that not many people know about all the charity work done negates the point of doing it for publicity?