The tragic case of Marlon King

November 3, 2009

You won’t see a lot of sympathy heading in Marlon King’s direction, and quite rightly so. I mean, it’s not enough that he goes around smacking young women in the face after they turn him down. But he also has the nerve to earn £35k per week for not scoring goals at Wigan Athletic, I mean, the nerve of the man.

Of course, I’m being facetious here, abusing women is never excusable, regardless of how talented you happen to be. But maybe footballers are a little bit different, lets consider these lovable chaps for a moment.

1) Stan Collymore

2) George Best

3) Paul Gascoigne

What connects them? Well, obviously the answer is that they’ve all confessed to beating up their respective partners. All have been rightly censured, but because of their genius talents, society has somehow managed to pardon them. Well actually, only 2 of them really, you see, Collymore wasn’t a “troubled” player, he was never a “Genius” either. No, what Collymore was, was a moderately gifted player who scored goals, nothing more, nothing less, it just so happened that he took a swing at Ulrika-ka-ka-ka one night. Rightly, Collymore is never allowed to forget what happened on that shameful night, and hopefully it’s forced him to consider his attitudes towards the fairer sex.

Why has Gascoignes’ and Bests’ spousal abuse been largely forgotten? Of course, in Bests’ case, you could always argue that it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead and in the case of Gascoigne, you could argue that he’s not entirely in control of his mental faculties. These could be the reasons, but might I suggest that we, as football fans, look at ourselves for a minute? Have we become so obsessed with ability on the pitch that we can’t separate “the player” from “the man”? As long as these men are delivering on the field, we’ll forgive them their sins? It’s because we tolerated these men, praised them when they performed, glossed over their indiscretions, that they felt they had a licence to behave as they did.

I’d like to say that Marlon King’s career is finished, but as George Best and Paul Gascoigne have demonstrated, football fans have short memories.

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