Sanctimonious ex-pros stick boot in on Rooney

The accusation that Wayne Rooney, Manchester United’s £27 million striker, used a prostitute have remained uncontested and the media spotlight shows little sign of dimming. Yet aside from journalists whose job it is to report on the country’s best, Rooney has also been on the end of criticism from those in the game.

That the player’s form has hit rock bottom hardly helps the former Evertonian’s cause of course, opening the door for cheap taunts from rival fans, journalists and pundits alike. While it is of no surprise that the strength of criticism within media circles has been so vociferous – the moral absolutism of the British tabloids holds no bounds – those within the game now also feel compelled to comment.

Indeed, this week ex-professionals Kevin Keegan and Stan Collymore weighed in on the debate, using Rooney as a platform for comments that reek of self-serving hypocrisy. This comes after manager Sir Alex Ferguson finally admitted that the media pressure is affecting Rooney’s performances on the pitch.

Keegan’s outspoken attack was unusual for the man who has walked away from almost every job he has ever held, but also reflective of many voices within the game. The former Newcastle United manager argues that Rooney has no right to privacy if he is prepared to sell intrusion into his life in other spheres.

“You can’t have all the contracts and sell your wedding to magazines and things like this and suddenly say, ‘That’s the tap I want to turn on, but we want to turn the other one off,’” Keegan told ESPN after United’s draw with Bolton Wanderers last weekend.

“But it’s just one tap and I know from when I played that, if you are advertising boots and all these things, you have to go and make appearances. The one thing I would say is keep your home and your family out of it and just take your endorsements if that’s what you want to do.”

To many supporters it’s an argument that rings true, although one wonders where the pundits’ moral certainty comes from. The sale of Rooney’s wedding to OK magazine, for example, increased the media interest in the player’s life. Indeed, had Rooney eschewed many aspects of the celebrity lifestyle to which he is now accustomed media interest in his life may well be less intense.

This, however, is not the same as permitting carte-blanche media intrusion. Few, if any, in the media have articulated a solid argument that player’s commercial interests also remove the media’s moral obligation to respect privacy. Collymore and Keegan, however, seem to believe this is the case.

It is, of course, an extension of the debate that flared up when Rooney’s indiscretions first emerged: should fans, and in turn the media, care how Rooney behaves? It’s a very risky game of moral absolutism that supporters and the media do not play with friends, family and colleagues outside the game.

Meanwhile others echo Keegan’s belief that Rooney’s “confidence is shot,” with Collymore also arguing that the media intrusion is the player’s own fault.

Collymore, who beat up his then girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson in a Paris bar during the 2002 World Cup, says that supporters have already seen the best of Rooney as a result. The former Liverpool player argues that the player’s dip in form is now permanent because of the media pressure he is now under; perhaps mirroring Collymore’s own ignominious descent into mediocrity.

“We might have seen the best of Wayne Rooney – mentally now he’s going through lots of torment. We know that he’s brought it upon himself,” Collymore told talkSPORT radio, on which he recently called Ryan Giggs a cheat.

“The issue is if you sell your wedding you are saying to people ‘I am happy for my daughter, my son, my mum to be there in the paper’. So you can’t then say, when things are going wrong, particularly if you put yourself in schtuck, ‘stop at the front door’.

“Whatever goes on with him and his wife it will be sorted out in the wash in however many months or years but the mental impact (means) every time you go out you’re not just justifying your footballing ability but you’re justifying lots of other things.”

It’s the old argument that footballers, because they are famous, must behave in a way we do not expect of others in society. Of course, the other way to view that statement is simple justification for old-fashioned media voyeurism and salacious gossip.

Either way, the tap of criticism pundits such as Keegan and Collymore have opened, now flows freely.

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Comments

  1. Bill says

    Woods & Rooney both in the same year.

    It will be interesting to see if either recover to their previous level of performance (Woods or John Terry haven’t).

    My money would be on Rooney, his indiscretion seems less than Woods, he is in a team sport & football is more instinctive than golf with less time to think during match situations.

    If neither did, then for those tempted in the future, the question has to be – is it really worth it?

  2. Ted Perechalli says

    Let the man who has not sinned cast the first stone! If his wife forgives him, and if he turns over a new leaf, Rooney will definitely get back his lost form. Just watch him go after peace has settled him down.

  3. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    course he’s worth it, this isn’t fucking carrick or someone, this is wayne, never sell him under any circumstance, even if fergie completes his plan of turning him into kevin davies

  4. says

    Who honestly cares what ex pro´s (no pun intended) say about Wayne Rooney he most probably has been a naughty boy but whatever happens now is for him his wife and family to sort out, same with his football which at some point will return.

    On the plus side maybe Wayne Rooney will now realise what a shower of fickle cunts the media are, when you up, your up there in the heavens and when your down they put the boot in till your destroyed, if he learns nothing else other than the family comes first and tell the press to fuck off they maybe it was worth it.

  5. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    A lot of what’s being said is absolutely correct.

    It’s not just Rooney, his Missus is a celebrity in her own right… ridiculously so if you ask me, but there are plenty of brainless little chavy girls out there that like that sort of thing.

    These two sold their souls to the media, and now they’re asking for privacy, just when their salacious little lives are the most juicy.

    Rooney is a thick, scouse twat… what the fuck he was thinking, and how he ever expected to not get caught… only he knows… or doesn’t as is probably the case.

    I love him as a footballer, a United player… and I’d probably like him as a Mate… but he’s got no excuse for his stupidity… he’s not even like many footballers who are married to pointless little gold diggers, who are bound to leave them eventually anyway… he’s married to his long time sweetheart, who has already forgiven him once… guys like Rooney don’t deserve nice girls… but it’s always such cunts that get them… doesn’t say much for womens intelligence, does it?

    However… how the fuck, the likes of Stan Collymore has the stones to speak HIS mind on the subject is incredible… a bit like Ron Atkinson lecturing anyone on racism. And it pisses me off that no one seems to be calling him on it in the press. Fucker needs to be told very publicly, to shut the fuck up.

  6. ichiro says

    Rooney’s form has been poor from way before this episode, he has not been the same since he picked up that injury last season.

  7. SPARKY says

    Alfonso what a fucking post mate, this thread may aswell now be closed as nothing more needs to be said on the matter that can beat that for accuracy and summary of the topic.

  8. Spike says

    sheesh said:
    I hope Collymore gets raped to death by a gorilla. He certainly behaves likes one.

    Your wish master is my command *dons gorilla costume*

  9. Callum says

    Oh the irony of Collymore and woman! And also of Keegan to talk about commitment.

    There both cunts, why do we waste our time listening to them?

  10. says

    How can Collymore spout his worthless opinion without being ridiculed by the interviewer. Its donw to Rooney nad his family to sort things out. We have all made mistakes. He will be back in a few weeks.

  11. Duncan says

    Wayne may have paid for a hooker but I’m pretty sure he didn’t beat any women.

    Rooney has hurt himself and his family. But he hasn’t hurt anyone else.

    The media should stay out of this. Why? It is a tap that you can’t turn off when it suits you BUT…

    There is a young family and a child involved in this. Basic human empathy demands that we keep out of this and let the Rooneys come to terms with this.

    Instead of being so sanctimonious we should start to be more forgiving. I don’t mean let them off the hook. But we should tell these footballers that though they have done wrong we are prepared to give them another chance. But we should also tell them in no uncertain terms that there is only so much we will allow them to get away with.

    Colleen and Fergie need to let Wayne know: We forgive you but this is THE LAST TIME THIS HAPPENS.

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