Although I empathise with the Chelsea striker over the alleged stamping incidents in the game against Liverpool, I have no complaints with the three-match ban meted out to him that saw him miss out on the Premier League match against Manchester City.
I also have no problem whatsoever with what he did. The only problem is he got caught!
Retaliation has long been a bone of contention with me. I have every sympathy generally with those who do it. Imagine being virtually tortured for 90 minutes while trying to do your job. Imagine being poked, pinched, kicked, gouged, and generally abused.
You need to be a saint as well as a jolly good sportsman not to react to all that. The trick is to do it surreptitiously. Nowadays, with the advent of the myriad of TV cameras and all the new technology brought into sport, that is virtually impossible.
What gets me is that the instigator of the aggro generally gets away with it – unless he perpetrates an obvious foul on his opponent in full view of the referee.
I couldn’t help thinking all of this while listening to the programme on Radio 5Live the other night dedicated to the infamous Eric Cantona kung fu kick on that thoroughly deserving supporter at Selhurst Park back in 1995.
Cantona was banned for nine months, fined and ordered to do 120 hours’ community service. The empty head, whom I’m deliberately refraining from naming, received a very sore head.
Richard Shaw, the Crystal Palace player marking Cantona, was hardly mentioned and escaped scot-free. Yet it was Shaw doing most of what I mentioned above that had Cantona retaliating and receiving a red card in the first place.
Seething with anger, Cantona was then confronted by the idiot fan uttering a mouthful of muck and BANG! Immediately, the Frenchman was into the crowd and delivering the kick for which he has become most famous.
It’s against the law to do what Cantona did in a public place, as it is similarly against the law to do what Luis Suarez and Mike Tyson did…biting an opponent.
Have you ever seen a no-holds-barred street fight, though? That’s the difference. Take part in the latter and you’re likely to end up severely injured and in the back of a police van at the very least.
Generally in sport, it’s a slap on the wrist and a ban or fine. It’s a wonder there isn’t far more retaliation of the Cantona and Suarez variety! It’s an argument that has no end, so I think I will just stick to writing about it. Far safer!
Finally, commiserations to Tiger Woods. I can’t help but feel sorry for him as the media rip into him as his decline on the golf course reaches epic proportions.
Somehow, though, I can’t help thinking much of the sniggering and comment is generated not by his performance on fairways and greens but by the indiscretion of cheating on his wife all those years ago.
What a two-faced bunch we all are!