Manchester United Balls: Rio Ferdinand Lends Ronaldo His Hotpants
IT’S Day three of the Sun’s serialisation of former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand’s autoibiography. Having dealt with the John Terry racism disastre and David Moyes’ disgust at low-fat chips, Rio turns to “banter”.
Anything at all that sticks out about someone becomes a thing you tease them over.
Anything? Well, it’s about context, isn’t it. It’s about pressing buttons and getting a rise. But it’s got it’s limits. Does the player comment on the other one’s skin tones, hair, girlfiend’s figure or race? The footballing authorities have clamped down on anything racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynistic and anti-religious. So Spurs fans calling themselves ‘Yids’ is no longer banter but racist. Glasgow Celtic and Rangers fans singing sectarian tunes are not bantering but fomenting a riot.
The authorities make no effort to separate words from intent.
So. Wht did Rio think it was ok to say? Well, he made fun of Wayne Rooney’s hair. And:
When Cristiano Ronaldo wore tight jeans we used to destroy him: “We can see the veins in your b******s, what’s going on?” But he would laugh and come back and say: “You English guys don’t know fashion, what are you talking about?”
Ronaldo made a cultural reference. He should take care it’s not construed as racist.
And he has a point. When Rio appeared as pundit on ITV’s World Cup panel, he was derided for dressing like an easyJet stweard.
(You can see a lot more of Rio here.)