There have been a few times that I have watched sport or seen highlights & shouted at the screen in disbelief “They’d be arrested if they did that on the street!”
Last night was another example.
My husband showed me footage from the beginning of the Rugby Super League Grand Final in the first 2 minutes of which Wigan’s Ben Flower punched St Helens’ Lance Hohaia in the face twice & knocked him out.
Hohaia wasn’t completely innocent as his arm/elbow to Flower’s face provoked the attack & as former Wigan player Martin Offiah tweeted “..if you forearm somebody in the face you can’t complain if he clocks you one. If I had done what Lance did I’d expect a slap.”
However Offiah did also say “Second punch Flower threw was over the top.”
This seems to be the general consensus among those tweeting with former England rugby union player Brian Moore saying “Ben Flower – his first punch was retaliation for a cheap shot on him; second one was unforgivable.”
But although people seem to have accepted the first punch as justifiable is any form of punching ok in sport regardless of whether it was a provoked attack or not?
Flower was sent off for his actions & Hohaia was taken off the field due to concussion.
Flower has since apologised in a statement on his website saying he is “devastated” by his actions.
Hohaia has stated he doesn’t hold a grudge “In the heat of the moment people do some things they regret. I’ve done some silly things on the field myself.” “He’s probably disappointed in himself for not being able to play a part in the game as well.”
Flower will face a disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday.
Greater Manchester police are looking into what happened & although they have not received any public complaints they are continuing to keep in contact with St Helens & the Rugby Football League regarding the matter.
Ultimately it is up to Hohaia & St Helens to decide whether or not to pursue legal action.
But the question needs to be asked is this sort of situation ever ok?
Sports men & women are role models whether they like it or not, shouldn’t they be more careful about what actions they take when they are in the spotlight or is “the heat of the moment” an ok excuse for not being in control of themselves?
And don’t get me started on Luiz Suarez: biting, punching, pulling hair, diving, leg breaking tackles………..
It seems that if you are good at what you do people will let you get away with almost anything.
Personally these guys need to be held accountable for their actions & for some match bans are not enough.
I guess it all comes down to opinion in the end, but surely if something isn’t seen as acceptable behaviour in the streets how can it be deemed as ok on the pitch?