Why does the press protect Fabregas?

Update: Excellent piece on Arseblog over the Fabregas-spitting incident. Read here.

The tabloids have been depressingly unimaginative this morning. They lacked perspective (no mention of Fabregas’ past misdemeanours and no discussion / description of Gallas’ disputed goal,) and repeat the exact same quotes and writeup everywhere.

In fact, and this is sad considering how much I value the Guardian / BBC over the tabloids, only the Daily Mail had anything in detail to say about a) the events on the pitch and b) Fab’s past, and even they didn’t dig deep enough.

More than just unimaginative, this is biased and inaccurate reporting.

If this was John Terry being accused by the opposition manager, the press would have immediately dug up the events of last May and future analysis would have undoubtedly included that game against Spurs. If this had been Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo, their past indiscretions on and off the pitch would have been gleefully repeated.

This is not a rant against Fabregas – he’s talented, an invaluable asset to his team, a player fan love to watch, dictates the tempo of the game, controls it and can win the game for his team on his own – quite commendable for someone who turns 22 this May.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think Fabregas was an angel. Fact is, he’s not. Leaving aside the tiff he had with Mark Hughes and the scuffle with Frank Lampard in the Carling Cup final a couple of seasons back (in both cases he can be given the benefit of the doubt), here are some incidents involving Fabregas where, clearly, he’s not the innocent little Cesc his media image portrays him to be:

  • Fabregas spits in Ballack’s face – yellow card for spitting?
  • Fabregas dive against Chelsea (Robben) – playing role-reversal on the Dutch winger
  • Fabregas dive against Everton (Arteta) – the one where he kicks himself to the ground
  • Fabregas dive against Everton (Arteta 2) – the one where he rolled on the floor for eternity while the two teams scuffled around him
  • Fabregas tackles Cole from behind, tries to get him sent off
  • Fabregas v Wigan – tries to push Heskey on to the cameraman, clutches face (standard Fabregas fare, the face clutching, you’d think he was Ronaldo with the tender affection he shows to his gob.

He’s not a dirty player, I hear you say. Cristiano Ronaldo / Didier Drogba / Wayne Rooney etc etc – those are ‘dirty players’, you say. My point isn’t whether Fabregas is dirty or not, nor am I protecting any other player from criticism.

But when good players like Ronaldo (he’s the obvious example, but pick any from a long list of Keane, Vieira, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Gallas, Rooney, Robben, Lampard, etc) get caricaturised to the extent that no mention of them goes without their misdemeanours or mistakes being mentioned, is that the whole truth?

When equally good (not better, not worse) players like Gerrard, Torres, Henry, Fabregas, Carragher – all excellent players and stand up professionals – get elevated to god-like status with the press – the news filter for the masses – blind to their flaws, is that the whole truth?

The truth is, Fabregas is a very good footballer, but he also makes mistakes / cheats now and then, and might have spat on people a couple of times.

We go out of our way to talk about Rooney’s disciplinary problems and the fact that he’s ‘protected’ by the refs because of his status as England’s #1 striker. Hey, we’re talking about his ‘temper’ every single time Rooney is being discussed, so why not talk about Fabregas’ desire to win and how that pushes him to simulate fouls (learned at the feet of the great Thierry Henry, no less) and spit on people?

Doesn’t the world of football, especially the fans, deserve to know the whole truth?

Bonus: For Lionel Messi fans, you’ve seen the second coming of the hand of god, now see Messi spitting on the opposition (Barca v Malaga, Nov 2008).

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