Last week, Wayne Rooney had a few drinks at a hotel. He had a late night, mingling with fans in the bar and had some pictures taken of him looking a little worse for wear.
No big deal, right?
Well, not according to most people.
Rooney had picked up an injury in the win over Scotland and was consequently highly unlikely to play the friendly against Spain on the following Tuesday.
— The Sun (@TheSun) November 15, 2016
England had just won a derby, and Rooney was celebrating. He might have had a ‘few too many’, but that’s all.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) November 20, 2016
However, according to The Sun, what Rooney’s done is the worst thing in the whole world. He’s a pariah, and he should be out on his ear as a result.
The sensationalist rag has been serialising the event all week, releasing more and more details and refusing to let the story die.
To be fair, Rooney hasn’t helped the situation, with an initial apology followed by a condemnation of the media – but this is most certainly a storm in the teacup as opposed to the tsunami that The Sun are making it out to be.
I think Wayne Rooney’s statement tonight is completely right, good on him! pic.twitter.com/hyxT9paaxJ
— The Away Fans (@theawayfans) November 19, 2016
The big question is: what does The Sun gain from this?
Sure, they might sell a few more papers for a while, but in so doing they continue to sully their already highly-sullied name.
What is actually happening is that at a time when the English football team needs the media and the fans to get behind them, the media is doing everything they can to pull the whole thing apart.
Who gives a shit if players had a night out. Lazy journalism, it’s not even news! @WayneRooney should never have apologised.
— Stephen Warnock (@StephenWarnock3) November 20, 2016
The entrapment incident on Sam Allardyce was bad enough, but this obsession with Rooney is simply going too far. If this is how people get treated when they decide to represent their country and take senior roles within the team, then why would anyone else ever do it?
We all know that the money’s in domestic football. Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the way that the league competitions are perceived in contrast to the international game.
With precious little money in football when it comes to internationals, playing for your country is about pride. But the question to ask is: is “pride” really worth it when the media are looking for any opportunity to besmirch your name and destroy your reputation?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure it is.
Rooney, with a wife and a young family on top of his footballing commitments, has few opportunities to put his feet up, and he just may be tempted to free himself up on these international breaks if the thanks he gets for representing his country is nothing but a hatchet job.
Let’s be clear: Rooney made a mistake, but the one that The Sun – and the media at large – are making is a bigger one.
Training today 😀 pic.twitter.com/4B8DXOrvcl
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) November 18, 2016