The two match ban handed to Wayne Rooney for swearing into the camera in celebration after scoring a hat-trick was upheld yesterday.
Cue talk show host, news channels, comedians and general busy bodies to incessantly talk about an excited football player uttering a barely audible smattering of obscenities, which prove that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
Yet the issue is not that Wayne Rooney has mastered the art of obscenity; it is the shock and mock indignation from the national and football media that goes against what I know about the game that rankles me.
The whole incident is being portrayed as an exception, something that is abhorrent and abnormal, this may be the image that the game wants to project but this is not based in reality.
Pretty much every adult I know, ( strangely nuns and upstanding citizens keep their distance) swears regularly this is hardly something that the general public needs to be sheltered from, particularly in football.
Players have not started swearing overnight, those adept at lip reading will see weekly on national and international television players using language that is most certainly not part of the Queen’s English.
It can be argued that this is not acceptable, that footballers should be role models and this is a nice idea, but not a view that is based in any kind of reality. Footballers may be more famous and earn more than almost any other profession, but they are paid to play football not to be role models.
It is not the fault of Rooney and his cohort that society rewards top level athletes more than nurses, fireman or other more socially beneficial professions. To ban a player for, swearing or for that matter other social crimes punish him cheating on his wife is not in the best interest of the game.
Off the pitch the language is no cleaner, every week millions worldwide hear fans from all clubs singing expletive ridden songs on the pitch side microphones.
These microphones are designed to capture the spirit of the game, and except on a few extreme occasions this is lauded as part of the atmosphere and charm of the game.
I remember vividly childhood weekends at the football with my Dad, fascinated by the atmosphere of the match, a place where I learned new words that I was under no circumstances to repeat in front of my mother.
I hope that those who know me will testify that despite exposure to this part of everyday life I did not turn out too bad, I mean I haven’t robbed a bank or robbed an old lady yet.
The indignation and punitive action from the sport’s governing, seems devoid of logic and detached from reality.
This attempt of sanitation that is both unnecessary and unachievable, there are many things that need to be fixed in sport, this should probably not be top of the list.
However I cannot see this mini crusade going away now that a precedent has been set so let’s hope that in future players remember not show any emotion whilst playing or at the very least look away from the camera.