Hypocrisy

I will never forget how upset I felt when first viewing the image above. Roughly a month after Eduardo’s disgusting injury, the Independent felt the need to do a piece on Martin Taylor. Along with their article, they posted three pictures. Looking at the image above, all that’s missing from it is a halo around his head.

See, the English press wrote about how unfair it was to Eduardo that he suffered such a cruel injury because of an unfortunate accident. That point was battered home by the English journalists. British managers stuck up for him too. Naturally, Alex McLeish defended his player. Steve Bruce, having managed Birmingham a year before, stuck up for him as well. Coincidentally (or not), neither McLeish nor Bruce have acquired any Arsenal reserve players on loan since these comments.

I don’t mean to stir the pot over this incident. I’m merely trying to point out how much positive press was spun out in Martin Taylor’s favor, precisely the opposite in Eduardo’s penalty claim case. Now, it hasn’t been completely one-sided, but everyone assumes that it was a dive now.

The word “dive” is immediately connected with the word “cheat” for many Englishmen. John Terry himself today said that English players are “too honest,” while suggesting that they should try to “win” more penalties by going to ground when they feel contact. What exactly is he trying to say? Is he trying to also suggest that Didier Drogba is a bigger cheat than Steven Gerrard? Because he’s not. Drogba anticipates contact and goes down, while Gerrard oftentimes runs side by side with a player and collapses in a heap dramatically.

How can UEFA justify giving Eduardo six yellow cards retroactively when he would have earned a yellow card at worst had the referee thought it was a dive? How can UEFA ban Eduardo using video evidence when they claim that they will NOT be using video evidence in the future because they feel it may undermine referees? How can UEFA undermine their own referee when the referee himself said he stands by his decision? How can UEFA not ban Ashley Young for diving in a Europa League match the very next night? How can UEFA fax us a copy of the charge to our Ladies office?

None of it makes any sense.

And for that, there’s the other obvious point. Martin Taylor was suspended for three games for his offense on Eduardo. Media pundits like Stan Collymore has called for an eight match ban for Eduardo for diving and a five match touchline ban for Arsene Wenger for defending Eduardo. In almost every other sport, the idea of diving or flopping is greeted with a personal foul. In almost every other sport, an offense like the one Martin Taylor committed calls for a serious hefty ban.

The label of “cheat” will be attached to Eduardo for the rest of his playing career by some. This last week, Zat Knight and Gary Cahill both verbally assaulted Fernando Torres because they believed he dived. That’s just as bad for kids to view than a striker winning a penalty. The very real possibility exists that defenders will now hack Eduardo even more fiercely because they suspect that he’s a cheat. Now, just how wrong is that considering the man already lost 18 months of his professional career due to a malicious tackle that was viewed as an “accident”?

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