West Bromwich Albion player Joe Mattock was in the Liquid Envy Club in Leicester on 30th August 2009 when he carried out an attack on two men and two women during which punches were thrown. Mattock admitted a charge of affray. He was given ten months detention, suspended for two years, ordered to do one hundred and fifty hours of unpaid work and told to pay £1,500 costs.
I’m sure you’ll agree that it seems that justice has been done and that Mattock can have no complaint about being appropriately punished for behaving in a despicable manner.
It is what the Judge said that I take issue with. It seems that the incident came about because the group of people involved were verbally abusing Mattock for leaving Leicester City where he had been playing and transferring to West Bromwich. The Court heard that the group had been giving Mattock ‘grief’.
When handing out the sentence, Judge Michael Pert QC told the footballer,
“The plain fact of the matter is you were earning what most people would regard as a king’s ransom. If the price of that is to take some stick in a nightclub in your home city when you had left Leicester for another club, frankly you should have been able to handle it.”
I would have to question whether that is right. Can it be right that a twenty year old man minding his own business in a nightclub should have to put up with being verbally abused for no reason simply because he is paid a lot of money to be a footballer? How on earth does that work?
Should well paid Judges also be able to handle ‘some stick’ because of the amount they earn?
I am in no way defending what the young West Bromwich Albion player did on that night but I do question why we expect young men who happen to be footballers to behave any better than other young men who don’t happen to have their talent or their money.
Twenty year old Mattock began his playing career at Leicester for whom he made seventy-one appearances in three seasons. He then handed in a transfer request and the manner in which he did so upset the Leicester management and fans. Just prior to the start of last season he moved to West Bromwich for a fee of £1 million.
In West Brom’s Championship promotion campaign last time out he made twenty four appearances and scored one goal.
Left sided player Mattock is a promising youngster who has represented England at under seventeen, under nineteen and under twenty-one level.
He is a talented young man and one who, no doubt, earns a ‘king’s ransom’ as the Judge said. I just don’t understand why that means he should be better behaved than someone who doesn’t.
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