Playing sports can often mix up a long range of emotions. No matter how frustrated or angry you are there are certain thing you don’t do. This past Wednesday Manchester United and Newcastle United met at St James’ Park, Newcastle’s home ground, to play the 28th round in the Premier League. Instead of remembering the match for the joyous occasion that marked Jonàs Gutierrez’s comeback at the highest level after battling testicular cancer, which I wrote about in an earlier post, it will be remembered for a much more negative incident.
A few minutes before halftime Newcastle striker Papiss Cissé and Manchester United’s defender Johnny Evans both ended on the ground after a challenge for the ball. Cissè then kicked towards Evans in anger, Evans, already on his feet again, was clearly not pleased with Cissè and spit on the ground next to him, before Cissè responded with great anger and grabbed Evans head and spit on his neck.
Spitting on an opponent has always been considered as one of the most idiotic things a player can do, especially in England. In England fans can forgive players that loose their heads in the middle of game, with either an unnecessary elbow or a hard tackle. England fans in particular love to see that, in fact it is a big reason why Manchester United legend Roy Keane got so popular, but spitting is a whole other low.
One of the most famous spitting incidents happened in the 1990 World Cup, in a match between Holland and Germany. Holland midfielder Frank Rijkaard spit on German stiker Rudi Völler, and when Voller complained to the referee he recived a yellow card. Just a minute later Voller reviced his second yellow and was sent of, and so was Rijkaard, but on the way of the field, Rijkaard spit on Voller again. No other actions were taken up agianst Rijkaard later.
Now, thanks to all the cameras and technology, it’s much easier to sanction players after a game. So both Evans and Cissè has been charged by FA (Football Association) for the incident, but while Cissè issued an official apology for his behavior Evans has denied that he tried to spit on Cissè.
Unsportsmanlike conduct like that is considered very bad and often leads to long time bans. Two seasons ago ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez where found guilty of biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and received a 10-match ban from the league, and last season ex-Hull striker George Boyd received a 3-match ban for spitting on Manchester City keeper Joe Hart. That sort of behavior is should not be a part of the game.
Hopefully these long match-bans will sit in player’s heads for a long time, and hopefully make them think twice about doing something as foolish as spitting on an opponent. It is disgraceful and should be no part of the beautiful game.