Wayne Rooney has been caught, according to British newspapers, of having an affair with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant. Rooney supposedly slept with the 21-year-old call girl seven times in four months.
If the story is true, then it’s reprehensible of Rooney to do such a thing. And conceivably, Rooney may have had the guilt of his actions playing in his mind during the World Cup this past summer especially more-so if he knew that the British tabloids were hot on the trail of breaking the story.
I usually don’t write about such topics on EPL Talk and neither do most of the other bloggers on the site. But it’s hard to avoid this story especially when it features one of the best players in England. And it may have an effect on his Manchester United career this season especially after Ferguson decides how to handle the situation by dropping him, giving him a stern talking to or not saying a word and letting Rooney vent his anger on the football pitch by scoring goals.
But the reality of the whole situation is that this story has nothing to do with soccer. Rooney cheated. And the British newspapers know that these type of scandals sell print copies especially on a Sunday. Just as Rooney reportedly cheated on his wife, many of the British newspapers cheat the public by utilizing their resources to focus on the ugly side of journalism, the private lives of celebrities. But that’s what many of them are in England, the British version of the National Enquirer.
That’s not to absolve Rooney of the actions he took. It was a series of stupid decisions by him.
The sooner Rooney puts this whole incident behind him the better. The best thing for him will be to put in a valiant effort against Switzerland on Tuesday in the Euro 2012 qualifier. But prepare yourself for a tidal wave of mounting press coverage in the next few days. The best thing Rooney could do is switch off all media and concentrate on two things. Saving his marriage, if he’s so inclined. And playing his best on Tuesday which will help shut up some of the critics. A poor performance from him and the press wolves will be on his back to add more pressure.
All of these types of stories make me wonder sometimes how little soccer coverage is focused on the actual game itself, and how much of it is fueled by everything else soccer-related. If anything, the soccer these days is secondary especially when you compare the amount of press coverage focused on a game versus all of the coverage (in the press and blogosphere) on other things such as transfer gossip, football shirts, video games, injuries, supporters groups, hooligans, club takeovers, fantasy football, flubs, mustaches, fashion, etc. We’re guilty of it, too. But I do find it interesting that the games themselves are becoming, to some degree, less important.
Sex scandals are nothing new in English football. But just as I believe that British newspapers should focus on uncovering stories that are actually more beneficial such as exposing government waste or reporting on feel-good stories, the fact of the matter is that as long as we, the public, continue to buy the newspapers, then the vicious cycle will continue. And sadly, I don’t see it ending. It’s a sad reflection on humanity that people care about these type of stories, and that Rooney allegedly committed the act in the first place. Personally, I’m not interested in the story but feel it’s one tabloid story that needs to be mentioned because it may impact on what happens on the pitch.
For the sake of the sport and the Premier League, let’s hope Rooney can make the right decisions moving forward. It’d be a shame if this affects one of the greatest English footballers ever.