The end of ‘bad boy’ ‘ballers?

Should footballers be considered role models?

Jack Shreeves, Marcus Otty, Regan Richards, Nathan Akhlaq & Eliot Goodyer

AS the celebrity and social influence of professional footballers increases, the widespread press – both good and bad – undoubtedly impacts their public image as a collective.

There are hundreds of cases of top footballers gaining attention for unsavoury behaviour off the pitch: Jack Grealish passed out drunk on the road in Tenerife, Jack Wilshere caught smoking outside a nightclub and Ryan Giggs’ well reported affair with his sister in-law. Whilst these instances are perfectly legal, they breach the supposed standards footballers are held to – receiving sanctions from their respective clubs.

The impact of footballers’ actions is prevelant in the surrounding culture, with signature celebrations and moves such as Dele Alli’s ‘eye challenge’ being replicated nationwide by youths – can their off the pitch actions be as influential? Because of this, we must ask the question whether institutions such as the FA and FIFA should enforce ‘good behaviour’ and make demonstrating traits of a ‘role model’ an obligation to the players.

Harvey Bourne [below], 20 discussed the issue and whether there is a definitive answer to the problem. “They should be but there is a lot of drama in football,” and “footballers lives are known about more because of the media”. The bar manager at the Brighton Students’ Union also alluded to the fact this is a new problem, and is only getting worse: “footballers in the 80’s and 90’s were idolised as role models as there was no scandals around them, and it was more of a gentleman’s sport”. It can be argued however this is only the case as previously there just wasn’t the kind of platforms or information available for footballers to be ‘caught out’.

Jack Juniper and Rory Murray [below] said “although you are a high-profile individual, you’ve still got your own specific needs and desires so, it’s up to the individual.” The two students said “it’s in the football and ‘lad’ culture”, and that “if kids are taught right from a young age there’s no issue”.  However, the pair went on to agree “[charitable] ideas should be pushed” within football, however “to enforce would be wrong.”


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