The recent outpoor of criticism and cynicism at Franck Ribéry for eating a steak covered in gold dust seems to point in the wrong direction. A few months ago, the press were eagerly engaged in a witch hunt with England international and Manchester City player Raheem Sterling.
In both cases the press have criticised their relationship with money. In the case of Sterling this went as far as slaughtering the player for buying something for his mother that she probably needed.
The same has to be said for Frank Ribery. He has eaten a steak. OK, it was covered in gold dust and has cost him quite a lot of money. This may be something different as to buying a house for a family member but just as Sterling, Ribéry has the money. Both are free to do with it as they wish.
The outrage that followed somehow misses the point. This is like treating alcoholism with a nicotine batch. The money is there and both players spend it on things they consider OK for them. In both cases it’s the money that is the cause and the way the players are spending is a symptom.
Football is awash with money and it allows people to behave in odd ways. Add social media and there is always a story, even from the smallest thing such as a steak covered in gold dust such as Ribéry has enjoyed. Or a snack at Gregg’s which the press are just too happy to indulge in.
It is the money that has flooded football not just of late but since 1992 which is responsible. The players have it and spend it. The press need it and create stories where outrage is not just a side product but the desired effect. Let them (the players) have the money and spend it as they wish. There are more important things to tackle.
The reaction of either athlete has been different with Ribéry’s reply being rightfully criticised; even his club FC Bayern have reacted and sanctioned him. Sterling meanwhile responded calmly and probably has taught some people a lesson.