Flint's Off on One

Our school changing rooms were reasonably large, and we’d sometimes kick about a bit inside before going out. Keepie up challenges, try out a trick or two, that sort of thing. One time, this rat-faced little tosser kicked a ball in my face, so I asked him not to. His level of intellect running through the snobbish vacuum where a brain should have been was not high. Nor were his manners, it seemed; he walked up to me and hocked a mouthful of phlegm in my face.

I think at this point you can probably already guess where this is probably going, but you may not agree. Having germ-ridden mucus delightfully sprayed all over you is about the most insulting and base level of interaction imaginable, and almost two decades later I still remember my immediate reaction; not anger, but shock that such a disgusting response to a fairly reasonable request was even contemplated, yet alone enacted.

Forget all the preamble and context – what Jamie Carragher did was wrong. There won’t be many who will disagree with that, this columnist included. What’s this? A rich, successful ex-footballer showing no respect or manners? Headline writers at the red-tops must have rubbed their hands in glee at the ease of their job when the incriminating video was released.

This is the point where I get angry. Without rehashing the entire episode which you have already absorbed countless times this week, the reaction of the indignant uber-moralising critics of Carragher would be hilarious if there weren’t far deeper-reaching consequences of the whole Motorway Spitgate affair. The very same morons who probably chanted “We all dream of a team of Carraghers” and lap up the tat shoved down their throat by the Premier League brand then slaughter the figures they have placed on a pedestal in the first place.

OK, so I am generalising here; let’s get more specific. It might not be the precise same fans who chanted his name, but it is symptomatic of a society that builds figures up to knock them down at every opportunity. Brands drop highly paid stars whose names are being dragged through the mud in a flash, regardless of guilt. More often than not the companies are justified in doing so, granted. The instant and decisive nature of these judgements gives far too much moral snobbery a soapbox.

If we are going to crucify the guy for doing something undoubtedly disgusting, what about crucifying the prick who filmed the whole thing and provoked the response in the first place? So he’s going on a driver improvement course; big deal. It all smells a bit like ‘Hans Brix’ writing a strongly worded letter to Kim-Jong Il telling him how unhappy he is.

A common thread of argument appears to be that Carragher should suck up the abuse because of his elevated status. Bollocks. When you’re in the arena of sport, fine, because it is within context. While driving down a motorway on your way home with a camera and extended provocation, I don’t buy it. Don’t get me wrong, I have hurled abuse from the stands in my time. Sitting in front of the TV I will rarely hold back.

Maybe I’m too much of a coward to say such things directly to the face of a footballer. The father clearly enjoyed the opportunity to rile Carragher for the sake of it though. Filming it, even apparently chuckling when the incident itself occurred, waives all rights anyone has to complain in my view.

There’s so much disagreeable shite in all this, but the worst was the headline spewed forth by the Mirror on Wednesday. “Dad who filmed Jamie Carragher spitting at car with teen daughter inside reveals ‘death threats’ have left him ‘under siege’”. THE MAN SOLD HIS VIDEO AND “STORY”! And now he wants to claim he is under attack?? Fuck off. “I don’t want him to lose his job,” he cried, as if he expected a single person to believe him.

The fall out is that Carragher has been suspended from his Sky Sports job, a attention-grabbing twat is a few bob richer, and the court of public opinion has been boosted to new obscene heights of misplaced arrogance. Worst of all, I am denied the chance to slate a Scouser by my inner moral compass.