Spitgate: are we too quick to condemn Carragher?

PUBLISHED: 16:42 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:25 13 March 2018

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has described spitting at a 14-year-old girl as a moment of madness in an interview on Sky News.  (Image: John Walton/PA Wire.)

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has described spitting at a 14-year-old girl as a moment of madness in an interview on Sky News. (Image: John Walton/PA Wire.)

PA Wire

After Jamie Carragher’s spitgate, is it OK to annihilate celebrities and footballers because of one thing they did, asks Liz Nice

Is it just me feeling a bit sorry for Jamie Carragher today?

I’ve always rather liked him.

He’s frank, clever and an excellent pundit.

He’s also, based on admittedly apocryphal stories I’ve heard from friends from Liverpool, a pretty decent guy.

Supportive to the Hillsborough families. Good to his own.

He now faces calls to strip him of his job– he has already been replaced as a pundit on Danish TV – because of a moment of road rage madness when ‘banter’ (he called it ‘goading’) with a Manchester United fan got out of hand.

Spitting out of the window at a car which contained a teenage girl was clearly not his finest hour.

The fact that some of his saliva actually hit the girl – the window was open – will be something he will feel terrible about for the rest of his life.

Spitting is repulsive, there’s no getting around it. He agrees – labelling himself ‘totally out of order’.

But does he now deserve to have his entire reputation ruined because of one stupid mistake as some are suggesting?

I would say no.

We are too quick, in this social media age, to annihilate a person’s character because of one thing someone does that we don’t like.

Recently, one of my colleagues wrote a column which led to the most extraordinary personal abuse.

The way he was described on social media bore no resemblance to the kind, thoughtful, funny man I know.

Yet, because he said something that a lot of people – myself included, as it happens - disagreed with, he took a battering that very quickly had little at all to do with his controversial views, and a great deal to do with his character. From people who had never even met him!

We don’t know Jamie Carragher but we do know ourselves.

I know that this morning, a blonde woman in a Range Rover refused to let me into the queue on the school run (usually common practice at an awkward junction), before winding down her window and lecturing me imperiously on ‘the rules’ of the road – incorrectly as it happens.

She was so horrible and rude and completely unjustified that I am afraid my words deserted me and I gave her a V sign.

Should my life as I know it now be over – or is it just that, when someone winds you up on the road when you are under stress or time pressure, or because the other person is being deliberately provocative, it can bring out aspects of your character that on the other 364 days of the year you work extremely hard to pretend aren’t there?

We all have our moments of crazy behaviour.

We all do things we regret.

To condemn Jamie Carragher is deny our own capacity for flashes of anger.

We should admit it instead, for the more we bury our rage, the more it comes out in unpalatable forms.

Football, of course, has always been a way for helping the rage to dissipate.

Shout at the ref – and you’ll probably feel less inclined to shout at your husband or wife.

Care passionately about the result on Saturday and you will care less about the things in your life that really matter much more, but which are much more difficult to face.

Every football fan knows this, yet, whenever a footballer lets out a bit of rage, we are quick to want him brought to his knees.

Eric Cantona.

Luis Suarez.

Now, Jamie Carragher.

By all means condemn the action, but don’t assume you know enough about the person to condemn the man.

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