The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Public Morality

Posted by The Futility Monster on February 1, 2010 @ 09:52

What a hero, eh...

If there’s one thing the John Terry saga has achieved, it is actually to make me rather surprised at myself.

The John Terry rumours are still merely allegations. However, when they are splashed all over the national newspapers and receive not a modicum of complaint from the subject…

First of all, private citizens have the right to do whatever they like with their lives. And then everyone hates the rise of the “super injunction”. So far, so liberal: so boring.

The more interesting issue for me is the one that a few people have raised. Should this man be the England captain in light of these allegations?

My answer is pretty simple. No. And not because of anything to do with football. The fact that he (allegedly) had an affair does not affect his footballing talent. Moreover, as John Terry is not a political figure with a history of preaching religious bigotry (a la Iris Robinson), there is no question of hypocrisy either.

So what’s the problem?

The problem to me sunk home when I watched Match of the Day on Saturday night.

John Terry, a man who (allegedly) committed a rather nasty little deed behind the back of a so-called team-mate, leading his team out, in a position of authority, and, most importantly, holding the hands of children who no doubt worship the ground he walks on.

This is the issue to me. There is nothing particularly magical about the fact that he’s the England football team’s captain. But what is important is that he, and many others of his ilk, are national icons. And not just that, they are heros to many of the children up and down the nation, if not the world. Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney… they are major figures of national cultural significance, and are idolised as such.

Unfortunately for everyone else, they are human, and are going to make mistakes like this.

The England captaincy puts John Terry just a little bit more in a figure of responsibility. We expect our public figures, especially our footballers because of how important football is to most of the youth of this country, to be excellent role models. Sad as it is, to some children the images of celebrities on the TV are the only role models they have.

John Terry has lost that trust. Like it or not, the “crime” is magnified if you’re in the public glare.

I’ve never really been all that bothered about politicians having affairs as long as they aren’t hypocritical about it. But this episode has made me reassess that view. Affairs are malicious acts that reflect badly on the people involved, and even more so if victim of them is someone you actually know and ostensibly are friends with.

When you’re in a position of responsibility, or of trust, you are expected to behave a little better than the average person.

John Terry failed on that, and should do the honourable thing.

Not so liberal any more, eh…

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