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It’s not only racism; it’s also professionalism

A Game Weekend is ought to be filled with excitement and quality. Nevertheless, the exciting fixtures lately were completely overshadowed by non-football related issues. The media’s intervention has definitely irritated the matters, but unfortunately the players themselves have not helped in resolving the disputes either.

While the public has been critical towards the hand-shaking routine before every match, it is actually an effective measure to ensure that players are putting all the personal matters behind once the game whistle is blown. By shaking the opponent’s hand, it does not necessarily mean you agree with his personality or you are treating him as a friend, but it indicates that you will respect each other on the football field.

A needless arrogant celebration by Patrice Evra

The Ferdinand brothers have certainly made things even worse for John Terry. A needless Twitter comment and a non-friendly hand-shaking refusal further irritated the fans and elevated the dispute to a new level. Whether John Terry is found guilty or not, he definitely has had enough and decided to quit the spotlight of being the national team captain, however proud he was to be.

Similar situation happened between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez. Dalglish’s decision not to remain neutral and allow team mates freely showing their support towards Suarez heightened the hatred between the rivals. Having found guilty of the racism charge, Suarez showed his hostility in the pre-match handshake, which only saw Evra respond minutes later with a childish tackle aiming at the Uruguayan, but nearly accidentally broke his team mate’s leg instead.

Footballers are no supermen. They are human beings and will make mistakes. Undoubtedly, they deserve more respect from the media over their private life, as their salaries only contribute to their performance on the pitch. Nevertheless, players and managers should also realise that they are not playing local county matches. Being paid at a rate which their weekly wages are higher than some others’ annual pay, they have to accept the fact that they are in the limelight, and every action on the field will be overseen by the global world within a minute.

As a football fan, do we care about their gambling habits? Do we care about their alleged affairs?  All we care is their inspiring and mind-blowing performances on the pitch. David Beckham maybe one of those exceptions that offers a package more than football, but Wayne Rooney had already demonstrated that one single brilliant goal can silent all the criticisms.

The Football Association has been striving to eliminate racism, in order to protect the players and the games. They may have missed one crucial aspect of the game — professionalism. Uneducated and unprofessional behaviours from the players and managers should be treated more seriously. By the time they enter the stadium, they should refocus on football and put aside all the personal matters. If supporters are to be punished for their disrespectful act, so should the players and the managers.

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