Football’s Gone FluffyBy: The Offside | April 2nd, 2010
Most can agree this was not one of Ryan Babel’s finest hours, of which there seems to be very few. It was a colossally stupid move on his part to put himself into a position which could render severe consequences, even if his intentions were genuine and at the back of a teammate. (Or, in this case, one of two Superstars which steer the Liverpool ship and require presidential protection.)
There’s no indication on the intent of Ryan and there may have been some naughty words, but he probably wasn’t praising Luisao’s cocoa complexion, even if he maybe should have.
Yet you see these incidents and don’t think twice, because red cards fly for the slightest of extracurriculars these days. A push, a slap, a purple nurple – they’re all fair game for a quick shower. But that doesn’t mean the law is beyond question, and just because it’s not a football move doesn’t mean there’s no place for this stuff in the game.
There’s always a place for an expression of emotion – good, bad or otherwise – in a game often defined by its emotion, and whose ultimate goal is the opportunity to express emotions greater than the other team. If it gets a bit physical, a bit heated, good – that’s within the nature of the sport. Anything else is counter-productive.
Of course that’s not to say they should be running sanctioned 12 round title fights after innocuous challenges, but there’s certainly some leeway here for the “afters”. What Babel did was stupid and shows a distinct lack of thought, but that’s precisely the point: these things are done in the heat of the battle, without thought. They’re not scheming over days for the perfect chance to deliver the pimp slap of all pimp slaps. It’s all within the moment, so embrace the moment.
Football’s gone too soft – fight the good fight.