In a week where Chelsea, John Terry, Ashley Cole and verbal abuse simply couldn't dominate more, Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo has thrown his opinion on the matter into the fire—stating that he "doesn't know" if verbal abuse can be stopped out on the football pitch.
With Terry sparking the entire debacle by racially abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers and Cole letting the Football Association know just what he thought of their decision to find the Blues' captain guilty of racism, Di Matteo's comments about the rampant nature of abuse in the modern game are both interesting and insightful.
Take a look at what the manager said on the matter, per The Telegraph.
[Commenting on verbal abuse]... It's probably a little bit of a deeper issue, not just with footballers. There's 40,000 to 50,000 in the stands, and you know how much swearing goes on there too.
It's about educating the next generation to be more respectful and acceptable towards each other—whether it's realistic, I don't know.
When you are pushed to the edge of your abilities, you react in a way you don’t expect. Even people that are very rational and composed in a game can lose their composure a little bit. Sometimes you act in a way you will regret afterwards.
It is difficult to understand for people who have never played team sport at the highest level. We have to improve on respecting each other in general. It's about respecting the opposition....
Following a tumultuous week or month that has no doubt seemed like an eternity for many football fans, Di Matteo's comments are perhaps one of the most logical statements that have been made on the subject—particularly in reference to respecting the opposition.
Regardless of whether John Terry meant to racially abuse Ferdinand or not, if he had not been trying to abuse him verbally, the comments about his skin color would not have been said. The same goes for Ferdinand, who also played his part in baiting Terry and abusing him also.
As the Chelsea boss says, stamping out abuse and swearing from world football is arguably a bigger mountain to climb than actually winning any given match, and it is most likely never going to completely come to fruition.
But unless our club captains and respected international players—like both Cole and Terry are—start to live up to the assumptions that they will model the game well and emulate the ideals of respect, cooperation and fair play, we will never go anywhere in this abuse debate.
We will just go around in circles.
This shouldn't be about who said what. This should be about two great players of the game acting like they're paid to act and modeling to the next generation of footballers that abuse and racism have no place in the world, let alone on a football pitch.
There's more at stake in this than who was right.
The future of our beautiful game might depend on it.
What do you make of Roberto Di Matteo's comments?
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