While sulking in the abysmal rhetoric and outlook of the United States presidential election, my mind started to wander. How are candidates that are so heavily scrutinized by the entire country, even the entire world, allowed to publicly lie, disrespect their opponent, and disrespect the global population without consequence?
It thoroughly infuriated me to think about, and to watch happen before my eyes, and me being me, my mind swiftly shifted to the world of soccer (it’s a blessing and a curse).
What truly amazes me is how the limelight can blind people to the actions of stars, and how even when a hero of the public performs some atrocity, it is forgotten as quickly as it was conceived.
Over the summer, as Euro 2016 was about to begin in France, news broke that Spain’s No.1 David de Gea had been an integral part of a sexual abuse incident involving two other Spanish players back in 2012. de Gea was accused of aiding in the sexual abuse and prostitution, being linked with the so called “king of porn” in Spain. With all this being said, the scandal was forgotten as soon as the Spaniard made his first save of the tournament.
Remember in 2011 when the news broke that Ryan Giggs was involved in an eight-year affair with his brother’s wife! This was compounded by the admission that she had aborted Ryan’s baby just before her marriage to his brother…and yet Giggs is a hero of Manchester.
Think back to 2010 when it broke that England captain and Chelsea legend John Terry was having an affair with teammate Wayne Bridge’s wife. Terry proceeded to be carry on as captain of the Three Lions and Bridge was forced to retire from international duty. Rather than coming down to who fans would rather have representing their country and values, it boiled down to who could control the pitch better.
In many ways, the world of soccer can be truly representative of the world we live in; the power struggles, the business dealings, the contrasting and clashing club cultures. It has always amazed me, though, that soccer players, and all athletes for that matter, can get away with such debauchery, and lack of character and responsibility. One would certainly think that with more eyes on you, you would be held to a higher standard of being, but as we have seen with soccer stars and politicians alike, this is far from the case.
I am reminded of the line from the movie Spider-Man, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
However, it seems we are heading in the direction more akin to great power being equivalent with less responsibility. As the public, it is our job to hold athletes and politicians alike to our standards of ethics, and in this, we are failing.