I am speaking on behalf of nobody when I say that it is easy to stereotype people, especially footballers. I think that all over the world they are faced with endless issues, and unfortunately, our very own players are no exception. Is it because fame comes with a price? Honestly, I don’t know, but what I do know is that some people can be very accusatory and we are inclined to believe them because of how we stereotype people like athletes.
True, bad news sells—anything controversial, not to mention the page-turning headlines the media comes up with these days, spikes interest—but bear in mind that there are two sides to every story. We are free to read whatever interests us and speak our mind through whatever means, but I urge everyone to always keep an open mind. I admit that breaking news and stories about popular Manchester United players never fail to fascinate me, but they are inconclusive unless evidence suggests otherwise.
Just to reiterate, the feelings and thoughts on my blog are entirely mine. Sometimes certain events compel me to share my opinions because of the people involved. Athletes are human beings, too. Like you and me, they make mistakes—sometimes that’s all we see—but they’re not bad people. Who are we to judge them? Embattled people will even apologize for something they didn’t do.
Ben Hibbs, one of my favorite football journalists, once said:
Footballers aren’t complicated super beings. As fans we can be accusatory about their opulent lifestyles—the astronomical wages, lavish homes, flash cars, wives and girlfriends—but their requirements on a Saturday night can be as simple and straightforward as discipline, belief and confidence. In that order.
Of course, I agree with him. There are those who think they deserve more scrutiny, and then there are those who are just hypercritical to the point that simple remarks or gestures are taken entirely out of context. Sometimes that is all it takes to create contrived, so-called controversial issues.
From where I’m standing, all I know is that footballers just want to play. There are some perks for doing their job well, but like the scrutiny, it comes with the territory. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, but winning and losing are part of the game. Some of them can become good role models along the way while some don’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were born to play the game. I just find it heartbreaking that they are constantly chastised with the media aggravating the situation just because they’re footballers. More often than not, these “issues” they find themselves in can actually be sorted out in one meeting or a few words, but that never happens.