I don’t care what people say; if one achieves public status within the sporting world (and I don’t just mean on a global stage), one of the key responsibilities of that sports man/woman is to lead by example; period.
I’ve heard all the arguments about how some individuals don’t want to be in the public eye; just simply get on with their sport, however, I’m afraid it’s tough, you were fortunate enough to make it and you reap what you sow. These days public attention goes hand in hand with most professional sports.
Thus, if the above is true, there’s a level of responsibility and decorum that must be followed. Just as it’s frowned upon for high-end movie stars to be falling out of night clubs, the same should go for sportsmen and women; they’re setting an example for all their fans and budding young sports stars, who strive to be in their position.
I admit, it’s a rather rant-filled opening couple of lines, however, us rugby fans take pride in our game being the sport of gentlemen, and now we have a wonderful ladies game that is constantly growing…However, we’re in no position to turn our noses up at footballers (which we often do), due to poor discipline and behaviour with the rugby community increasingly guilty of just that itself.
In the past couple of days, we’ve seen a prominent figure in both the Edinburgh and Scotland setup banned for suspected drug use, and England’s Dylan Hartley (striking with the hand), Nathan Hughes (dangerous tackling) and Joe Marler (striking with the elbow) all cited from European fixtures, which may mean they miss England’s Autumn tests.
The stupidity of the three England lads to lose their head, weeks before important internationals, especially in the case of Hartley and Marler, who have repeatedly repented for previous actions…I mean come on; grow the f&@k up and act like a professional.
As for Hardie; foolhardiness (pardon the pun) and naivety are words that come to mind.
Everyone makes mistakes; I get that but the next time there’s a debate about the awful behaviour of footballers, I’ll struggle to defend our sport because there’s plenty of stupidity that encapsulates our game too.
How do we fix it? Well, perhaps we should just wave goodbye to the players who can’t be tamed. After all, we’re trying to nurture the game’s next generation and we want them to be advocates for the sport.
The most recent example is Kyle Sinkler. An immense talent who clearly has a huge passion for the game but he’s someone that keeps attracting headlines for the wrong reasons…we must find ways to eradicate such mishaps.