Time for these so called ‘role models’ to clean up their act

Notts County Striker Lee HughesIt speaks volumes about the state of the game in this country when the national team captain is involved in yet another will they won’t they handshake debacle due to yet another piece of misconduct. If he is the pillar to what everyone else has to stand up to; well that’s like telling a striker he will be compared to Torres in terms of goal return – setting the standards pretty low and not exactly asking too much – well anything at all.

This week we have faced yet another footballer in the headlines for all the wrong reasons – this time a case of sexual assault. Lee Hughes is the man in the dock this time, yet read that allegation and you could take your pick from the majority of footballers when wondering who it could be.

Lurid claims of wild antics have long been the mainstay of the front pages in England, yet more and more we are seeing footballers there accused of anything ranging from extra marital affairs (again more than half the national team have been accused of this,) all the way to vandalism and assault. How are footballers allowed to get away with this, and more to the point why in God’s name do we still hold them up to be role models and pillars of society?

Footballers make millions in terms of image rights yet how on earth do they get away with the antics off the field and are still able to do this? Even the most marketable footballer of them all David Beckham has faced allegations concerning his off the field behaviour, yet it seems that in the case of extra martial activity especially, players are not held accountable for their actions by fans and are still seen as gods regardless.

Of course, this can easily be counteracted by stating that footballers should only be judged by what they do on the field – and to a certain degree I totally take this point. Who really cares what they do as long as they manage to turn up and play well – or in certain cases, bother to play at all.

This would be one thousand percent valid had players not now become what is essentially role models for young children and despite complaining about the invasion of their privacy are more than happy to take the money that comes with being in the public eye and a marketable tool.  If they do this then they have to accept they are going to be examples to the kids who idolise them, and have to tailor their behaviour accordingly. Criminal activity and being down right disgraces is something that is simply not acceptable and has to change.

It is of course up to the clubs and players themselves to do this, not to mention the fans to take a stand, yet when the skipper of England is embroiled in more scandal than Al Capone, it really does make you wonder what chance we actually have of doing this.

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