Is it fair?

April 11, 2006

Just how much taunting should footballers have to put up with?

Look – I’m not saying that Diouf should be spitting at fans and I’m certainly not condoning Cantona’s karate kick at Crystal Palace, but fans surely can’t have it their own way all the time, can they?

Examine the picture of William Gallas below. Check the fans in the background. The guy has just been sent off – adrenaline must be pumping – he’s angry – they’re stood just a few metres from him – taunting – shouting obscenities – insulting his family – maybe even his skin colour.

You can see how it might happen – perhaps a gesture is the least most of us would respond with. Footballers are human too. Should they really have to put up with that abuse?

And now, Paddy Kenny, goalkeeper of Championship promotion favourites, Sheffield United is to be investigated by police for an alleged gesture at Hell City [sic] fans when The Blades got their last minute winner on Saturday. The same 5,000 fans who had been calling him a “fat bastard” all match. Again – I’m not saying he was right to do it (if he did), but you can see why he might…

Footballers are in a position of responsibility – idolised by many, especially the young – but is it right for them to be singled out for doing (once) the same thing that thousands of fans have been doing to them all match?

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