Lets concentrate on activities on the field

Why can’t footballers behave themselves, callers to radio phone-ins scream in outrage. Ricky Hatton is shameful, shouted the tabloid news last weekend. The Pakistan players involved in the alleged match fixing scandal should be banned for life, say pundits and presenters.

With all the controversy surrounding professional sports stars these days, I’m surprised many people have the time to show their support for anyone, as they all seem too busy ridiculing them for off- field behaviour.

Sure, Wayne Rooney might be lacking in judgement, and John Terry was hardly a good a friend to Wayne Bridge, but should any supporters really be concerned with what goes on off the pitch?

These players are icons for the goals they have scored and stopped, not for their ability to hold a strong relationship.

This is no excuse of course. Rooney, Terry, and those two top level footballers who have allegedly taken out super injunctions with the press to stop reporting of their private lives, have done wrong.

But these men are in the public eye for football, and no other reason.

They should not be role models for their personal behaviour, as this is not what has brought them stardom in the first place.

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The solitary thing they should be admired for is their profession.

Apart from that, they are normal men from normal backgrounds, and all normal men of their age make mistakes.

There is also an argument to suggest Ricky Hatton should not be as ashamed of himself as the newspapers would like.

There are newspaper allegations that Hatton used cocaine, which, of course, would be against the law, and also dangerous, but look at it from another perspective.

Young sportsmen have huge wealth and a legion of hangers-on, willing to supply them with anything they want.

Hatton is not boxing at the moment, and is facing boredom.

He may be in desperate need of replacing the thrill of his sport, a trap that many top level players, with nothing to fall back on with regards a career fall into.

The one recent controversy that doesn’t sit well with me is the Pakistan spot-betting revelations.

This is because it brought the actual game of cricket into disrepute, rather than the personal lives of those involved.

It is the one recent controversy worthy of the word shame, as it has disgraced the profession of the players and the sport they are already paid well to do.