Professional bastard

Raheem Sterling: The man who marred football's otherwise pristine reputation

12th June 2018

Footballers have long been the benchmark of morality here in the United Kingdom. Famous for their teetotal approach to drugs and alcohol, their genteel abhorrence of any kind of violence and their entirely Protestant and almost monk-like approach to intercourse, these paragons of ethics have shown us all how we can be better people.

That was until Raheem Sterling came along and besmirched the previously pristine title of professional footballers. How dare he get a tattoo of a gun on his leg? A gun for Christ’s sake? After all those shootings on the news? For shame!

Raheem_Sterling
The media doesn’t just take a random dislike to someone for no reason 📸 Kamran Hussain

Sterling has stated that the tattoo is both unfinished and in memory of his father who was killed by a gun, but that isn’t good enough. He should have known better than to unknowingly let The Sun long-lens him while he was at practice. All the hate he has received as a result is clearly both proportionate and fair. If Piers Morgan — the People’s Prince, known for his calm judgement, sound reasoning and the love he inspires in his fellow man — has taken umbrage, then we know something is wrong.

Alberto Moreno, the Spanish International who plays for Liverpool, has a tattoo of a chimpanzee holding a gun, but that’s different. And it’s true Damien Delaney, the Crystal Palace defender, has a tattoo of a clown with a gun in its mouth, ready to blow its own brains out, but again that’s just different, somehow.

And how could we forget? One-time England player Jay Bothroyd has a tattoo of guns and knives awkwardly laid out to spell out “love” down his ribcage. The Telegraph ran a piece on how he has achieved cult-like status in Japan — where he now plays, and even though he is a little bit like Sterling, it’s still different. For starters he’s very far away so we don’t have to care; secondly, at least he finished his tattoo; and finally, it spells “love”. That’s fine.

That’s why he must constantly be berated by the press. To make sure he is behaving in a way we’ve come to expect from footballers.

These cases are fine, but otherwise, gun imagery should be kept out of football. It might permeate our cinema and television and news and video games and social media. Or someone affected by gun crime, in the UK, might watch the football and be upset at catching a glimpse of the offending leg.

Football may have had mild kerfuffles with a racist, homophobic, misogynist and violent vein, but this is simply too far.

Even putting aside his bare-faced audacity at getting such a tattoo, it’s important that Sterling faces such public scrutiny. As a talented public figure, it’s important that everyone, regardless of whether or not they’re interested in football, know of the sins of this utter monster. That’s why he must constantly be berated by the press. To make sure he is behaving in a way we’ve come to expect from footballers.

Yes, he has funded schools and is helping kids to learn how to read. But he also stayed up really late at a party one time

“Ohhhh,” you might say, “he does do some charity work.” A bastard like him would have to, just to sleep at night. Yes, he has funded schools and is helping kids to learn how to read. But, he also stayed up really late at a party one time and asked to be paid more. Who does he think he is? Wage increases are only for footballers who go to bed on time.

And when he did get his undeserved money, he didn’t spend it how he was supposed to. He took cheap flights and didn’t wash his car, while at the same time buying homes for his widowed mother and his sister. What sort of example is that for young, impressionable football fans? They shouldn’t be spending money on their families or trying to save when they need to buy season tickets costing anywhere from £300 and up.

Some may say this relentless scrutiny and laborious judgement is going too far and is simply hypocrisy, but the tabloid media is merely attempting to keep the otherwise utopian world of football free from this irresponsible and insensitive bastard, while maintaining the highest standards of moral and social responsibility. Bring on the World Cup!

12th June 2018