“Apologies from my end it was never a penalty, but genuinely thought defender was going to slide, so tried to ride the tackle”.
That was the tweet from Hull City Winger Robert Snodgrass who, let’s say, “won” a spot kick on Saturday as The Tigers drew with Crystal Palace.
There was much condemnation of what he did. Gary Lineker called the dive “awful”. Peter Schmiechel called Snodgrass “an embarrassment” while Palace Manager Alan Pardew said he should be “embarrassed” and “totally fabricated the incident”.
This led on to plenty of debate on the phone-ins after the game, some callers demanding guilty players be banned for three or four games, with one even suggesting clubs were fined.
These are, of course, laudable – even normal – statements to make and reactions to have in the face of such an incident, but let us at Leisure Leagues pose a moral question.
This week there is a full set of midweek fixtures in the Premier League and EFL. Imagine, just for a minute, that its 0-0 with a minute to go, or perhaps your team is 1-0 down. One of the players in the team you support, let’s call it, “does a Snodgrass” and you see it perfectly, you know that he’s dived. Just like Snodgrass, he gets up and sticks it home and wins or draws the match for the club you love.
You don’t cheer, no? You don’t take points and go home? Let’s be honest, you celebrate for all you are worth and you probably defend the player who cheated.
And that essentially is the problem. We all love to pretend we are outraged by diving, simulation, cheating call it what you like, we all love to criticise every team who does it – except when it’s our own.
Whether we like it or not, it’s part of the game. Has been for decades and will be for decades more. At the end of the day, professional football is just that. Professional. It is not a game between two boy scouts teams, Premier League games are worth millions. Lower down it means a livelihood.
And if you still think you are outraged by diving then pose this moral dilemma to yourself.
You are playing in the lower divisions. You aren’t on a great wage, your mortgage is due and you’ll get a bonus if your team wins. It’s 0-0. It’s last minute and there’s a defender running towards you – like Snodgrass you think he’s going to hit you.
Do you go down? Knowing that if you do your mortgage gets paid?
If you say you wouldn’t you are a better man than me.
Controversial as it might be, isn’t time to say that you will never eradicate diving as long as people want to win. Corinthian ideals are all very well, but they are 19th century. Instead it’s time to forget the outrage, admit we’d all do it and get ourselves in the real world.
Andy ThorleyBack to Blog