Marlon King, Lee Hughes and the Moral Vacuum

September 21, 2010

Marlon King - Surprisingly not on his way to batter another woman (maybe)

*exasperated sigh*

As I type this, everyone’s favourite reprehensible football thug, Marlon King, has found himself a new club, Coventry this time. His wages are estimated to be somewhere in the region of £10k per week.

Of course, King has served his time (again) and he’s entitled to earn his living as well as Coventry is entitled to employ him. What’ll be interesting here is how the Coventry fans react will react to Marlon King if he actually performs well for them.

Football fans are notoriously short of memory though, especially when one of their crew is performing. Look at the moronic fans at Meadow Lane, screaming their support for a convicted killer.

I wonder why it is that the Sex Offender Marlon King and the Drink Drive Killer Lee Hughes have been able to find gainful employment so soon after spending a few months at “Her Majesties Pleasure”. Oh hold on, I actually know this, it’s because they’re footballers. It seems to me that being a footballer or being involved in football in some respect instantly lifts you above the ethical concerns of everyday life.

Strangely, I don’t blame Marlon King for his predicament; he’s only trying to earn his living the only way he knows how. The blame for his return to football lies with Aidy Boothroyd and the Football League. Boothroyd for wanting to sign a man who currently resides on the sex offenders register, and The Football League for sanctioning his return to football.

I know that my calling football fans “moronic” isn’t going to go down well, but to be quite honest, I don’t care. If the Notts fans want to support a man who has blood on his hands, that’s their call. If the fans at the Ricoh want to wear shirts with King’s name on the back, that’s down to them.

But don’t expect me to join you and certainly don’t expect me to approve.

10 Responses to “Marlon King, Lee Hughes and the Moral Vacuum”

  1. Mike McKenna Says:

    One for me to leave right alone, methinks…

  2. Mike McKenna Says:

    Actually, I’ll make a couple of points.

    I was pretty uncomfortable with the Hughes signing when it happened. I’m still mixed about it now, but your blame of the Football League is wrong.

    If a plumber was convicted of the same crime as either Hughes or King, is he still entitled to be a plumber upon release? Because if your answer is ‘yes’, why does the same not apply to a footballer? I mean, you say in your piece that ‘he is only trying to earn his living’.

    I have long since accepted that if Hughes didn’t play for Notts, he’d play for somebody else; just the way it is.

    If you don’t believe that he should be out yet after his crime (which I would actually understand) then the blame is with the Criminal Justice System.

    After all, according to them he has been ‘rehabilitated’, so why shouldn’t the Football League ratify the transfer?

    I think your thinking is rather flawed, my friend.

  3. ross mantle Says:

    As I say, I don’t blame King and Hughes for attempting to resurrect their careers, football is the only thing they can do and they are entitled to work in the same way that County and Cov are entitled to employ them.

    However, and let me drag up a word you don’t hear in football very often, is it ETHICAL for clubs and The Football League to sanction their returns? Football spends a lot of it’s time attempting to get more women through the turnstiles, is the return of King really the right message to be sending to these women?

    Your comment of “That’s just they way it is” shows, to me, just how morally bankrupt either the average football fan is or how the game is as a whole.

    Football does seem to exist on a plane where normal ethical considerations don’t apply and where the pursuit of the “Bottom line” has turned into a race to the bottom.

  4. Mike McKenna Says:

    My ‘just the way it is’ comment doesn’t just account for football though, does it? Like I said before, a plumber would come out and go back to plumbing. Maybe one company would refuse to hire him, but if he was a good plumber, he would get work. I’ll say it again; that’s just the way it is.

    Is it ethical for football to sanction them? Well, you could turn the question around easily, too. Is it ethical for the Football League to over rule the criminal justice system and decide that even though the law says they have been rehabilitated, they are still unable to play football? Surely that’s an issue for the court room and the legal bigwigs, not a footballing body?

    And then, is it all players with a criminal record are unable to play, or just some? Can they still play abroad or are you suggesting FIFA step in?

    If both players were allowed out of prison every weekend to play football and that was ratified, then I think it is a different kettle of fish.

    I know it is distasteful to see people who have committed horrific crimes receive such adulation. Like I said, I found the Hughes signing to be very uncomfortable, and still do. However, the issue is with the criminal justice system. After all, according to them, ‘both players have done their time’.

  5. The Coach Says:

    I agree with totally. It is as mind bloggling as was Colombia using goalkeeper Higuita, of the famous Scorpion kick, taking him from prison to play national matches and returning soon after. The football authorities are sending out a wrong message.

  6. Ross Mantle Says:

    As I’ve said,

    I don’t blame King and Hughes for trying to resurrect their respective careers, they’re entitled to, but that isn’t my point.
    My point is the ethical stance that these clubs have made, it’s nothing to do with the criminal justice system.
    Your point about plumbers is valid upto the point where your asking me make comparisons between plumbers and footballers, the two are different things, it’s not a fair comparison. Plumbers aren’t held as role models.
    As “The Coach” says, clubs are sending out the wrong message, their message seems to be that it’s OK to break women’s faces and smash into people’s cars, killing the drivers, as long as you can hoof a ball a bit, there’s always a place for you here.

    I suggest that the only reason you have a contrary position to mine is because Lee Hughes has been good for you, if he had been a disaster, you’d be the first here telling me how spot on I was. Don’t worry though, I can appreciate the moral position that it’s put you in, must be terrible cheering on a killer.

  7. Mike McKenna Says:

    Firstly, your argument ‘flip flops’ my good man. You’re trying to claim both sides of the fence by saying that you don’t blame Hughes and King, and then saying they shouldn’t be able to play. It’s like talking to a Liberal Democrat!

    However, I do understand your point, and I’m not contrary to it because of Hughes. I’m contrary to it from a legal perspective. Indeed, it is for this reason why I use my plumber argument (which is entirely fair, by the way. To suggest otherwise would indicate that a plumber and a footballer have different legal rights, yet as you well know, every man is equal in the eyes of the law)

    The issue is that football clubs know if they don’t sign the player, another one will do. I was very uncomfortable with the Hughes signing, but as I’ve already said, if Notts hadn’t signed him he’d be scoring goals for another club. The same applies to King. Both are good players, hence both will get contracts at some level of the game.

    Is it ethically right? Perhaps not. However, preventing them from playing also has it’s issues, not least legally.

    Indeed, if we are to go down this track, should Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer have been kicked out the game for the actions taken towards that Asian student 10 years ago? Should Duncan Ferguson have been banned for his headbutt? Do you wish to see all players who have been ‘inside’ thrown out of the game?

    I’d suggest that would do more harm than good, especially at youth level. How many players are prevented from a life in crime by going into sport?

  8. rdmantle Says:

    I know it sounds like I’m indulging in a massive amount of Orwellian “Doublethink” so let me clarify my position, it’s fairly simple to understand. There’s no lib Dem here by the way, my view is total Tory on this.

    1) Legally, they play, they’re entitled to and any club is entitled to sign them. That’s a distinct position from the moral argument (which you agree with).
    2) Morally they shouldn’t (not can’t). Clubs shouldn’t have scrambled for their signatures and should have sent a message that violence against women isn’t tolerated here.

    As far as plumbers are concerned, well, it’s debateable,I personally don’t think it’s a fair comparison with footballers, what with plumbers not being public figures and, dare i say it, role models.
    Football clubs signing players because it prevents another club doing so? understandable, not really an argument for signing them as such.
    Woodgate and Bowyer? I have the same position as detailed, legally yes, morally no.

    I’ve never ever suggested that they couldn’t play, it goes against my “free market” principles and the right to sell your labour/skills is one of the cornerstones of a civilized society. However, this doesn’t mean that I’m unable to argue and adopt a contrary, moral position that they shouldn’t play.
    My argument has always been from the moral standpoint.

  9. rdmantle Says:

    Anyway, don’t you have a blog entry to write?

  10. Mike McKenna Says:

    Your position is so Lib Dem on this that I can almost see the beard and sandals through my computer screen!

    I have sympathies for both sides here, but ultimately can only pick one. Clearly, my position is obvious. However, if we were to talk about the criminal justice system and the subsequent punishments, I suspect we may yet even agree. But that’s a different topic for a different blog…

    And yes, I do!!

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