Arsenal Balls: Kick Mourinho And The Moralisers Out Of Football
JOSE Mourinho says Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere is setting children a bad example. The Chelsea manager notes:
“What football players do, millions and millions are watching, lots of kids are watching.”
Well, no. Wilshere was in a hotel pool in Las Vegas. Millions of kids were not watching. One adult paparazzo lens leering at the footballer in his swimmers was.
Mourinho adds that the kids looking in will start thinking…
“…if a top football player can smoke then I can smoke and it is not a problem.”
Not a problem? Given the acres of newsprint dedicated to Wilshere’s puff, not a problem looks like a massive problem. In reporting on Mourinho’s views, the Mail (which bought the photos of Wilshere on holiday), thunders:
The Gunners midfielder was photographed smoking and behaving outrageously during a holiday in Vegas.
Outrageous? A legal fag in the open air is too bad to be allowed? Were you outraged? Was anyone sane outraged that a young man smoked a cigarette? Had he been taking LSD then outrage would have been the predictable emotion stirred (followed by curiosity).
But this is Wilshere’s second time with tobacco. After the first time he was captured on camera, the player confessed in a full press conference:
“I’m not a smoker, I don’t smoke 10 a day or whatever as people have been saying. It was a mistake and I’ve learned from it. It’s tough.”
Learning meant smoking not outside a UK nightspot, rather in a US resort famed for hedonism.
Sir Alex Ferguson has offered some perspective on the evil weed:
“In England, it’s a rare thing to see a player smoking but, all in all, I prefer that to an alcoholic. The relationship with alcohol is a real problem in English football and, in the short term, it’s much more harmful to a sportsman. It weakens the body, which becomes more susceptible to injury.”
Mourinho’s take on smoking is more akin to the views of Arsene Wenger, Wilshere’s Arsenal manager, who opined:
“You can damage your health at home – you can smoke at home and you can drink at home – and nobody sees it, but when you go out socially you also damage your reputation as an example.”
And that’s the outrageous thing. Wilshere smoked a ciggie in public, where he is no longer a private human being, but an “example, a “role model”. Jack Wilshere, with his career in public office and health – writer of texts on tobacco and its dangers – is exposed as a hypocrite.
No. This is Jack Wilshere, whose career is based on what occurs over 90 minutes on a football pitch. Had he celebrated a goal by pulling a ciggie from his sock and lighting it, that would have been outrageous (and fantastically entertaining as smoking Wilshere is collared by the ground stewards enforcing a zero tolerance approach to smoking and frogmarched from the stadium).
What Wilshere does on his own time away from work is – so long as it’s legal and between consenting adults – his own affair. Don’t kick smoking out of football. Kick out the censorious moralisers who crave conformity.