As someone who makes a living writing about the football and indeed the individuals in the game, it will come as no surprise that due to circumstance I have written a few articles that did not strictly concern football – Mario Balotelli is a prime example of this – the player creates so many headlines that it would be impossible not to have written about his off the field conduct at some point.
Likewise with John Terry, or even a player like Ryan Giggs, there have been times where little comments or even entire articles have been written dissecting how they would be affected by what was going on at home. This is obviously par for the course, and unfortunately a way of life with the public interest and media hype surrounding players. What is not acceptable however is when a publication claiming to be a sports site or paper prints a simply ludicrous and unsubstantiated article about a player’s private life with little regard for the truth – simply looking to either fill their word count or create gossip about a player.
One such story was printed last week, a little paragraph that contained no more than 50 words, asking if Ronaldo’s ‘poor start’ to the season was due to the alleged tension and love triangle between himself, his girlfriend and a TV presenter. Not to mention the fact his mother supposedly dislikes the player’s girlfriend to add fuel to the fire.
The problem I have with that article is that it is based on entirely unfounded and untrue accusations and has no real credibility at all – in fact it has got to be one of the poorest pieces of journalism I have ever read for a start, a man who bought a baby and managed to keep it quiet not to mention play out of this world during all of that will is hardly likely to be affected by a simple matter like a love triangle.
Yes all journalists are guilty of writing stuff that is sometimes more tabloid than it should be but this was beyond that and sadly it seems that there are more and more articles like that appearing on sports sites or in papers. You may expect to see such an article in The Daily Mail, but not on other websites.
A Barcelona based paper recently printed an entire story dedicated to the fact that according to their not at all inflammatory and biased sources, Xabi Alonso is the most hated Real Madrid player in the Barcelona camp, due to derogatory remarks he has made about Cataluña and his attitude in general.
Now I am sure we can all remember Alonso from his time at Liverpool and this seems highly unlikely – the player is from the Basque for a start, and in a team that holds Pepe and Ronaldo, I hardly think Alonso is the one who’s behaviour is deemed the most offensive. Again a ridiculous article yet one that generates column inches and talk – especially just before a Clasico game and holds about as much credibility as if Fergie stated he felt United are a better side than City.
Sometimes whilst it is unfortunate, it is necessary to talk about a player’s life off the field – Rooney for example struggles hugely when there is an issue at home as we have seen time and time again, thus while an entire front page on his conduct may be out of order, questioning how it may affect his form is not. However, to print a strategically timed article in order to embarrass or affect a player right before a big game, especially when the article is entirely speculation and not even worth being the next day’s fish and chip paper is totally wrong – not to mention incredibly sloppy journalism.