Yet Another Rooney Controversy?-Swearing on Television

What?! Fucking, what?!

Edit:  Wayne Rooney was charged by the FA and faces a possible two game ban.

I have a proposal to make.  In light of the latest controversy involving Wayne Rooney and his mouth I propose that we move the Premier League kickoffs from lunchtime, 3 pm, or tea time and make them play at 9 in the evening.  Then no one would care what Rooney said.  Yes, if he uttered his “foul and abusive tirade” as some are calling it, after 9 when its ok to swear on television then everything would be fine.  Unfortunately for Rooney this was the early Saturday game.  And apparently kids were watching.  To be honest I found out about him swearing from twitter.  I was too busy celebrating to notice it live.  But we have vigilant people who watch over football and want to protect us from the likes of Potty Mouth Wayne.

Now I am sure that in pretty much every newspaper there were articles about this, I, so far, have limited myself to reading the Daily Mail.  And there are no less than four articles on Rooney.  Former referee Graham Poll, Tom Kelly and Patrick Collins have gone the respect route and have called called for Rooney to be suspended.  Martin Samuels on the other hand ranted about Rooney’s anger and went as far as to call for Rooney to leave the sport if he does not find joy in it.  And all I have to say is:  “wow, fucking wow!”

An angry young man

A grown man has sworn on television.  Now there is breaking news….  Of course he is not the first nor will he be the last.  There is quite a long list of players swearing either during games straight at the cameras, or during post match interviews.  Of course we see every week that players swear at the refs, though realizing it requires a bit of logic and lip reading as its not always audible.  Personally, even if I had noticed I would just chuckle.  No, not because I love Rooney and United, but because I do not believe that there are such things as bad words.  What people consider foul I may not.  However some may not consider certain words abusive or disrespectful, yet I may be offended by them, even if they are not your ordinary “bad” words.  Its all rather subjective and depends on the context.  A man calling another man a daft cunt has insulted him.  However sometimes that is just two mates giving each other stick and no one is insulted by it.  The insulting word is “daft.”  Now I have never appreciated anyone calling me stupid nor should anyone else.  If they call me a cunt it washes over me.  It would be insulting if someone called a woman a cunt, a man though, that’s not really an insult, just a bit of juvenile name calling.  Context and subjectivity.  Most seeing the daft cunt example would find insult with the C word.

And here we come to Rooney.  Or rather the shit-storm that followed his using the word fuck twice on tv.  Graham Poll, who has heard every insult possible on the pitch or on tv, calls for a 3 match ban, for “abusive language and inappropriate behaviour.  He also uses words like “tirade of aggression and abuse.”  Now as far as I know, and I have since watched the “incident,” Rooney was not abusing anyone.  He just said “what, fucking what.”  Nor was this a tirade.  Mr. Poll would do well to consult a dictionary, because mine claims that a tirade is a “a long angry speech of criticism, or accusation.”  So perhaps Mr. Poll is just using language to perpetuate the controversy and blow it out of proportion.  Not an uncommon thing in the English media.  Even for Rooney two very short sentences are not a tirade, and while he swore he did not abuse anyone.  So what gives here?  Mr. Poll and Mr. Collins both cite the new Respect Campaign announced this past week by the FA and want it to start with Mr. Rooney.

Mr. Kelly has called the incident vile and disgusting.  Strong words I must say.  He quotes Poll’s article in which a 6 year old boy supposedly asked why Rooney said ‘fuck,” so Poll claimed (funny how he quoted another DM article, its like Fox News reporting on what one of their pundits claimed the night before and saying that they are just reporting the news).  Now that 6 year old boy obviously has heard the word before, and knows that its bad, therefore he must have come across it several times.  Of course Rooney should not have said “fuck” on the telly.  It was wrong but lets not kid ourselves this is not the first time a footballer or another athlete did it.  Its the first time however that a couple of words have caused so much controversy.  And it all reeks of hypocrisy and agendas.  The hypocrisy is obvious.  Every week parents take thousands of kids to football matched knowing full well that they will be exposed to songs in which there is a lot of swearing, and far worse than what Rooney said, and also a lot of really vile and disgusting (truly this time, not in the Kelly way, though personally, I am not bothered with most of it) abuse directed at the opposition fans, players, managers and clubs.  Rooney himself has heard a lot of abuse.  Just ask the Everton fans for their Rooney songbook.  That same game he was constantly booed and abused throughout the whole match.  Very audible chants of ‘you scouse bastard’ were heard throughout whenever he touched the ball.  And these are the same people who are now insulted and outraged by Rooney?  Fuck off!!!

Once a Blue...

Seriously, football fans have no right to act like angels.  Again, Rooney should not have said it.  It was wrong.  And he should be reminded to watch his mouth.  But that is all.  All the indignation is hypocritical.  Now we are reminded of last year when Rooney ‘assailed” the camera and “verbally attacked” English fans for not supporting the team.  I shit you not, the quoted words were used in articles to describe Rooney’s little rant last June.  Again more media bollocks after a player shows a bit of frustration.  Stories were written, it was discussed by pundits.  As if Rooney had said something really important.  Who cares what he felt after a dismal outing.  And this is the problem me thinks.  Rooney has been disappointing for England.  After a great early Euro 2004 campaign he got hurt and England were knocked out.  He stomped on an opponent and got himself sent off in the WC 2006 while England lost.  This time the media tried to find a foreign villain, his club teammate Ronaldo.  There were still high hopes for him after all.  But it kept going down hill from there.  He was part of the useless lot that failed to qualify to Euro 2008 and was part of the shocking England team in last year’s World Cup.

And last fall he fell out with his club’s fans.  Many of those who loved him joined the legions of disappointed fans of England and are now also frustrated with Wayne Rooney, the White Pele, the star that was supposed to lead England to the promised land.  And that I think is part of this whole blown up controversy.  If World Cup winner Wayne Rooney said fuck on the telly everyone would forgive him.  But he was shit, along with the rest of the team.  So England does not like Wayne Rooney very much.  This “rant” follows the very famous elbow.  Then too there were many stories, many calls for punishment, his elbow got more play and stories than a properly violent tackle in one of the biggest games of the season a week later, but Rooney was not involved in that one, so it did not matter very much.  And several fans and football pundits are obviously not over the fact that he got away with the elbow.  So here is another chance to get him, and to sell papers of course.  a couple of “fucks” have overshadowed a great, and perhaps title winning, comeback by Manchester United.  One in which United have scored 4 goals in just 19 minutes.  And Wayne Rooney himself got 3 of those in under 15.  Yes, Wayne Rooney scored from a free kick, a very good open play goal and got the winning goal from a penalty spot.  But that apparently is not a newsworthy story, he after all said fuck on tv.

Is that a smile?

He did look frustrated and angry as Martin Samuels suggests.  He did not celebrate the first at all, the second he did, a little, and the third is famous now.  Samuels claims anger and lack of joy from football.  I claim bollocks.  Rooney looks far from happy yes.  But his reasons are surely not so simplistic as Mr. Samuels would have us believe.  We all know that Wayne Rooney loves playing the game of football.  We also know that it brings joy to him and makes him happy.  Or it did, till last summer.  Wayne Rooney’s injuries, personal issues, contract “negotiations,” and lack of form have all contributed to his frustration and apparent lack of joy.  But to claim that he is simply just angry and therefore should not be playing is, well, a bit simple, and Martin Samuels is, or should be, better than that.  We were all angry at the team in that first half.  We were not too thrilled with Wayne from most of this season.  And we certainly were none too pleased with him on Saturday till he started scoring.  Lack of movement and awareness.  Bad touches and passing, terrible decisions, team losing.  Useless, waste of space, substitute him, were just a few of the nicer things said about him till the 65th minute of the game.  By Manchester United fans!!!  Imagine how he felt.

Now we all realize that Wayne Rooney is not the most cerebral of players.  But even he must have realized that the team was playing like shit and he was a big part of why.  So when he finally got his third all that anger and frustration with himself came out.  And if we are to believe some of the reports that the Sky cameraman asked him to kiss the camera a la mark Noble, and made “famous” by Steven Gerrard, then the frustration was also with the cameraman.  Either way, the “fucks” were not anger at the world, or disrespect, or abuse, or even yob behaviour.  They were a release of frustration from a difficult year in general and that game in particular.  And in that context the reaction was quite understandable even if wrong.  Wayne Rooney is a winner, he gets angry when he does not win.  Nowt wrong with that, only losers accept losing as if it was nothing.  When he finally put United ahead the pressure released.  Simple really.  And no, not worthy of a beheading.  The world is full of foul mouthed athletes.  Remember McEnroe?  Connors?  Britain’s number one Murray?  They did/do it all the time.  Not once.

What makes Mr. Samuels’ anger and lack of joy theory utter bollocks is his own example of Javier Hernandez.  To show the contrast between the two he pointed out how Mr. Hernandez was full of joy and showed and open smile after scoring the fourth United goal of the game.  That’s nice and all, but if Mr. Samuels had watched the celebration for a few more seconds he would notice a very happy and smiling Wayne Rooney hugging and congratulating our young Mexican.  What, fucking what?!  Rooney smiled?  Football brought him joy?  No way!  Well, yes way.  Now of course my analysis of Wayne Rooney’s mental state may be as useless as Mr. Samuels’, but I do believe mine is closer to the truth and more thought out than his.  Simply because mine makes a bit of sense and actually follows a logical thought pattern all throughout and includes Rooney smiling after the fourth goal for a bit of balance.

I have seen Wayne Rooney smile and look full of joy many a time.  Not so much lately of course, because personally he did not have much to smile about.  But I never, for even a second, believed that he has lost his love for the game and that it does not bring him joy anymore.  That is hackery.  Just another frustrated and ANGRY England fan blaming his, so far, fallen idol and blowing things out of proportion, that last one reflects typical English journalism, if we can call it that.  I too am frustrated with Rooney.  I fell out of love with him in October of last year.  It was under the Trinity statue that I found out that Rooney confirmed he wanted out of the club he claimed to love and and said he never wanted to leave just months earlier.  It was only a couple of hours before kickoff.  Just days before we chanted his name when he was warming up.  So I am not simply defending a player I love and will not accept any criticism of him.  I have criticized him plenty of times in the past 6 months.  I don’t do blind devotion, even for United players.  The last perfect one was Bryan Robson, though Kenao and Giggsy came close.  And the only one who is god is Fergie.  But even I see when mistakes are made, when criticism is not baseless.  I am old enough and cynical enough to see things for what they truly are.  So Wayne does not get a free pass just because he wears a United shirt.

On the other hand I am not some silly ABU idiot who will blow out of proportion anything to do with United.  And as much as everyone denies that ABU-ism exists things look rather suspicious when there are tonnes of stories whenever Rooney swears, throws and elbow, or Fergie has a go at the refs.  Yet similar is ignored when anyone else does it.  I get that being the biggest club in the land comes with a price, but some thing are a bit much.  Especially in light of the recent survey that had United as the number one hated company in the UK.  More hated than banks, shitty airlines and deplorable places like McDonald’s or Starbucks.  So no, we are not all that paranoid.  You do hate us, and we enjoy the hatred.  Personally it amuses me.  However there are times when all the ABUs go a bit far.  And this is one of those times.  The kid said fuck on tv.  Its not right, but lets not act as if he did something truly evil and bad.  Some sense of proportion please.

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 6:26 am  Comments (2)  
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New Premier League Respect Campaign- An April Fool’s Joke?

To Gain Respect One Must Earn It First

So the motto goes.  Problem with referees is that no matter what you say to them on the pitch you are hardly going to change their mind.  So whether its either “please ref, I got the ball,” or “fuck off ref, I got the fucking ball you blind twat,” the result is likely to be the same.  The ref’s decision is final.  There is of course the school of though about working the referees.  Meaning that if you moan long and loud enough you will get the benefit of the doubt next time, if for no other reason that to shut you up.  I wonder how effective that one is?  I would think that its not as effective as some players believe.  Whether one is respectful or not, its quite futile.  If anything it may just annoy the referee in question.

And players should not want annoyed referees.  Nor should the managers.  I do not believe that the refs are biased, no matter how they appear.  But subconsciously there might be something.  Something that in an instant would make them give a questionable decision against the team they are annoyed with.  Its not a knock on their integrity, its just how human beings work.  A professional referee should of course be above that, but as mentioned, they do belong to our species (its true, they did tests and everything), and are flawed.  A month ago Manchester United visited Chelsea.  And Martin Atkinson had a shocker.  I said this already in the first half.  Before the Luiz non sending off.  United had most of the ball, were not playing physically and in the whole game United were officially fouled 10 times, while the whistle blew 14 times against them.  Now I do not think that Atkinson is a bent ref, but I wholeheartedly agree with Fergie when he said Atkinson was not fair.  He was not.  He sent of Vidic but not Luiz, who could have received 3 yellow cards.  He did not call a penalty on Terry.  And he let several obvious calls go when Chelsea players were fouling United players.  So bent?  No.  Fair?  Hell no!

Martin Atkinson worked the same fixture last season too.  Chelsea got a very soft free kick near the United box, and scored.  There was an obvious foul by a Chelsea player in the area where the ball arrived and because of it Terry was able to score.  Nothing was called and United went on to lose the game by the score 1-0 and then lose the championship to Chelsea by one point.  Is it any wonder why Fergie is not happy with Mr. Atkinson?  To be fair of course, United had their share of favourable calls.  Its not about that really.  Its about the reaction and the new respect campaign that was the result of said reaction.

Fergie got a five game suspension for calling refs shit.  Atkinson unfair and weak, and Whiley (the 2 out of the 5 games are for him) fat and unfit the season before.  And make no mistake, if Fergie does not say this last comment about Atkinson there is no new respect campaign.  So Fergie has a go at a ref.  Now there is breaking news for you!!!  And the FA and the Ref’s association are appalled.  Why?  Was he wrong?  No, only Chelsea fans and ABU’s think Atkinson was fair.  And even some of them will quietly agree with Fergie.  Its not as if the FA and the refs went all out to defend Mr. Atkinson’s performance.  No they just said Fergie should not be saying such things.  And herein lies the problem.  There is no communication.  Now Fergie may have (very likely actually) said all this to deflect from United’s inept second half, but he was still right.  Problem was Fergie has a perfect excuse.  Just minutes after the game he has a microphone shoved into his face and instead of being asked about the tactics, formation, adjustments, he gets asked about the non sending off of Luiz.  So he goes off on a bit of a rant, an accurate one too, and gets five games in the better seats and a private phone line.  And other than shock at Fergie no one from the authorities came out and explained Mr. Atkinson’s decisions.  Mr. Atkinson himself is not allowed to, because god forbid he should explain to the fans why he did what he did.  God forbid we learn how a referee comes to a split second decision.  We don’t want a media fight between the refs and managers or players.  But a nice statement explaining major decisions (such as I did not see the foul, upon reflection I think I got the call wrong, but in the heat of the moment I thought it was the right call, please remember I do not have the benefit of the replay on the pitch).  You know, controversial stuff like that.  A simple explanation and a reminder to all of us that they have only a second to make that call and no replays.  How shocking would that be?  Now of course some see this idea as referees having to answer every questionable decision and if once they do engage in the debate their will be sucked into it.

Terry showing respect

The problem is they are sucked into it anyway, without us hearing from the man who actually made the call.  Now how many of us would love to have Mr. Clettenberg explain that Nani goal against Spurs?  Or why he did not send of Rooney and his elbow?  A simple and short explanation of his point of view and we could move on.  Instead we speculate to this day.  And we wait.  We would still have to wait to find out why Graham Poll waited for a third yellow to send of that Croatian bloke in the 2006 WC, but he wrote a book.  Because of said book we got to find out why John Terry was sent off by Mr. Poll in the 200-07 season.  Right in the middle of the FA’s  last Respect campaign.  Wonder how Mr. Poll felt about that one?  Oh wait!  We know, he retired and told us what he thought of it.  It was a joke.  He dared to send off the captain of England for dissent and stories started in the media.  Mr. Poll was a spotlight whore.  he loved to be the centre of attention.  And what did the FA do, even after Terry admitted to the charge?  Nothing.  They did not back their referee.  And soon after that the respect campaign became a joke, we went back to Rooney, Terry, Cole, Gerrard and others abusing and arguing with the refs.  But apparently Sir Alex Ferguson is the problem.  Players are really an afterthought.

This incident did not reignite the respect campaign

And its not what happens after the game, whether or not Babel retweets some silly picture, or what Fergie or Moyes says.  Who cares!!!  Because for 90 minutes I see constant arguing by the players, they question every decision.  I see players trying to get other players sent off by either waiving that annoying imaginary card or screaming at the ref reminding him about a previous decision.  And I have a feeling that by this time next year we will have as much respect on the pitch as we do now.  Because the authorities will not back the refs.  Nor will the media.  The media will moan when the first ref sends off a famous player for dissent.  “Oh no, he destroyed the game, he should have done everything to keep 22 players on the pitch, he thinks he’s important, he wants the spotlight, arrogant ref, is that really worth a sending off, etc, etc,.”  You can see the headlines now.  And soon after that the refs will be told to quietly ignore the abuse, the cheating, the card waving, and we will go on as always.

I noticed something this week.  I was watching the friendly between Germany and Australia.  And while Germany had some shocking calls go against them, especially that joke of a penalty, the German players hardly went after the ref and his assistants.  They made weak protests or none at all, and went on with the game.  Meanwhile Australian players, especially the EPL veteran Lucas Neill was in the ref’s face after every call no matter how obvious.  It was a stark contrast in reactions.  But the Germans were taught that dissent will be punished, while Mr. Neill got away with it for years in England.  How else was he supposed to react?  I watch the NHL and I remember the times when coaches used to throw water bottles and sticks onto the ice in protest, and players went after refs like they do in English football.  But not long ago the NHL instituted a no nonsense policy, and no dissent is allowed.  And the players just meekly go in to the penalty box even after the worst of calls. while the coaches politely ask sometimes for an explanation.  Imagine that.

Rooney, "respectfully" disagreeing

Imagine Rooney or Ashley Cole just walking away after a bad call, or standing quietly while they are being booked for an offence.  Yes its fantasy, but in any other country it does happen.  Unlikely in England of though.  The refs are too weak, the authorities are cowards and the media complicit.  A perfect storm for the first time someone gets sent off.  Now while this month long story about Fergie and Atkinson raged I laughed.  I have no problem when managers speak their minds, even if they question the refs in a manner that Fergie did.  I don’t even have a problem if managers give a bit of abuse to the fourth official during the game.  Its no biggie, the fourth official does nothing anyway, so who cares if he gets an earful.  My problem is that after the game no one will explain to us why the calls were made.  No matter what Fergie said I have my own opinions.  Now being a United fan I think of Fergie as god.  But bing an atheist I don’t really believe in what gods say.  So he could have come out and said that Atkinson had done the best job he has ever seen and I would still think he was utter shite.  I do have eyes and a brain.  So do most fans.  We know that Fergie was trying to deflect.  We only agreed with Fergie about Atkinson, he did not change our minds.  And that is the issue.  Who cares what the managers say after games.  They questions they are asked are stupid, pointless, and obvious anyway, and most of the time the answers are bland, cookie cutter, obvious crap.  A big yawn.

And that is what the new respect campaign will be if the FA wont change.  We all have a good laugh, to this day, at Graham Poll, but he was a very good ref.  And that is how the authorities supported one of its best.  How will they support the next ref who dares to act?  I think in the same way.  In order for this new joke of a campaign to work, before each game the referees must call the two captains and tell them that no dissent will be tolerated, only the captains can speak to the ref (respectfully), no one is allowed to touch or approach closer than 3 feet of the refs, and card waving will mean an instant yellow.  And any break of said rules will mean a caution, or in serious cases a sending off, and then the refs must follow their own instructions.  And afterward the league and ref association must back the refs fully.  And let them speak for god’s sake!  And this must continue not for 3 months but for the whole season and seasons beyond.  And the managers must be given some slack about what they say during the game or after it.  Only then will this work.  because the first time Ashley Cole refuses to come to the ref when called and gets away with it, the respect campaign will be over!!!