Fast forward to Saturday’s between Newcastle and Hull City. With the match highlighting the fact Newcastle wore their shooting boots and with the bout seemingly in control by the Magpies, I watched as Alan Pardew appeared to headbutt Hull City’s David Meyler in a sideline bust-up. I looked at my wife who returned a look of complete and utter confusion. “What the hell was that?” we both asked. Upon review, it was clear Pardew’s fiery temper got the better of him (not for the first time this year) as he put his forehead into Meyler’s temple. Again, a moment of insanity that was correctly dealt with by the officiating crew, but I was more intrigued than anything as the numerous replays flooded in. Oddly (and thankfully) enough, Meyler didn’t make too much of a meal out of the incident, but it was shocking nonetheless.
Today, I decided to turn off the dreadful match between Spurs side seemingly playing down to the level of an almost inevitable Championship-bound Cardiff City for the Madrid derby. I watched as the passion bled through the satellite feed and the tempers began to rise. Both Madrid teams took chances and played quality football in the draw but what many will take from the tilt is the explosion of Atletico Madrid assistant manager German Burgos toward official Delgado Ferreiro over a challenge on Diego Costa. The madness wasn’t over as Real Madrid’s Pepe looked to be shot by a sniper in floodlights after a slight touch to his head in an altercation in the middle of the park.
I suppose none of these incidents can be analyzed as these outbursts are the actions of madmen in even crazier game. Surely, we have crossed a divide in the world of football. Players and managers act—literally act—with such impunity because there is no retroactive action severe enough to deter the idiocy. Modern football is guilty of allowing the ridiculous to go unpunished. These incidents are not minor. However, they are entertaining and perhaps that is precisely why the game’s players and managers continue to cross the line in the most literal sense (Pardew) and why defenders are just as flamboyant in their diving and play-acting as anyone else on the player.
In all reality, there is no cure in sight, so let me propose something else. Prevention. Prevention is better than the cure. Today’s players make exorbitant amounts of money and are gods of the arena. These athletes are stellar in their craft and diving is part of today’s game, but why not introduce retroactive fines and lengthy bans for players who are clearly guilty of conning the game. Sure, Alan Pardew received a heavy fine, but one that he can afford at the snap of his fingers. Vertonghen and Pepe should be ashamed of their actions, especially as defenders. These talented players are products of their environment and of a generation where this is the norm. Moreover, this charade of charlatans is also a part of the game that takes away from the actual contest. Most fans love the subplots in the game, but if we want to see actors, we’ll watch the Oscars. Cheers!