You must have heard about Maradona being called a cheat. Righty so, maybe. After all, he scored with a hand against England in 1986, which is the epitome of cheating in Football. But when asked about it, Maradona called it “cunning”, rather than “cheating”.
Call it a difference in culture or mentality, there has always been a dichotomy among football fans regarding Cheating vs Cunning. Reminds me of another infamous incident, the Suarez handball against Ghana to break African hearts and send his team Uruguay to the World Cup Semi-Final. For Suarez and his fans, he did what was needed for his team. Simple as that.
I understand that players want to win at all costs. So, I can somewhat digest cheating or cunning as another act of “everything is fair in love and war”. But what I can not digest as a fan is the sheer hypocrisy in Football: Calling others a Cheat but overlooking the same incident done by your players.
And it is what the English Media does in Football every now and then.
A few minutes ago, England defeated Denmark thanks to a penalty borne out of a dive by Sterling. But trust me, you will never hear a word about it being a dive from English Media. The same Gary Linekar who would tweet about every wrong decision in other games will never mention a word about the incident. The same Piers Morgan, … well never mind about Piers Morgan.
Funny thing is, it’s the same Linekar and Morgans and other English Football experts that would accuse every foreigner of being a Cheat for a similar incident in Premier League games. The Argentine Aguero, the Egyptian Salah, and the South Korean Son will be called a cheat for going down softly for a penalty. But when it’s English Kane or English Sterling, it’s either “smart” or “part of the game”, and that too if further pressed about the incident. Otherwise, it’s just blatantly overlooked.
Make no mistake, I understand Sterling doing what he did to win the match for his team. Most players on earth will do that, so this is not a tirade against Sterling. Rather, it is a tirade against Media and Football “experts” who constantly revel in virtue signaling and looking down on others, only to indulge in hypocrisy when it’s time to criticize their own.
Lastly, one might tell me — “If you don’t like English Football Media, why do you still watch them?” Well, I am sorry and helpless if that is your question. As a Football fan from Nepal who only understands English as a foreign language, watching English Coverage of the beautiful game is the only option I (and countless others like me) have. That is the reality of the world, and I can not change it.
What I can do is, at least expect a little bit of fair commentary and unbiased take from the Media. Or at least express my disgust at the hypocrisy in whatever way I can. That too, writing an article about it in English. Another reminder of the reality that I am constrained with.