The Jamie Carragher spitting storm which became the central story after Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat of Liverpool has thrown the spotlight on spitting in general.
There were many pious comments from ex pros, and many others who play the game at lower levels what a terrible thing this was, particularly when it involved a 14 year old girl. And I agree with them. It was a horrible incident and I find it hard to believe that Carragher couldn’t have been more dignified in his response to abuse. He has paid the price with a ban from Sky punditry for the rest of the season.
However, many of those critics who were so appalled indulge in spitting every time they play the game. Spitting is a sad, sorry culture in the game and – when it comes to the premier league coverage, going around the world to many millions of people – those close-ups of players spitting is abhorrent.
I wonder why they do it? Many players chew gum which is said to reduce the need to spit. It is a horrid habit which has become acceptable and this Carragher incident should start a debate on why it is so unacceptable in public situations but not in the glare of millions in our living rooms.
There is no medical need to spit. There is no health issue here except when a fellow player gets caught in the crossfire! And every time those close-ups catch a playing spitting, there are children thinking this is the right thing to do when I play football. They copy their heroes.
I would love to see a clampdown. The message won’t come from managers, many of them ex players like Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola do it.
The same can be said for swearing and abusing the referees, but perhaps the debate on spitting should start here for everyone who loves the game.