Manchester United: Wayne Rooney Forgets the Golden Media Rule

Jack DonaldContributor IApril 4, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground on April 2, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This past Saturday was a crucial day in the Premier League title race, but instead the media decided to focus all of their attention one minor incident and using it to turn the back page into a sensationalist celebrity rag. 

Manchester United were 2-0 down at half time and considering this season's away record, a comeback was looking tough. But Sir Alex Ferguson wasn't worried and made a simple but effective master stoke of placing Giggs at left back—allowing them to take full advantage of their territorial advantage with overlapping runs.

He also brought on the mini Mexican, Javier Hernandez, who has been one of the finds of the season and he posed enough of a threat to take the defence's focus off Rooney.

Rooney then scored a wonderful hat-trick and United pulled off a wonderful comeback, eventually winning 4-2 and taking a key step towards the title.

Then later that day, not only did Chelsea draw but Arsenal followed suit and gave the Red Devils an almost perfect day in the title race.

So you would expect the back pages of the Sunday papers to reflect that but instead there focus was drawn to a minor incident to most normal people, an incident that had it been another team or a player with a lower profile would have been ignored.

The incident in question happened seconds after Rooney had made the score 3-2 after a season when he has taken a beating in the press—some of it self-inflicted, but most down to the fact that his goal tally hasn't matched last year's incredible heights.

Rooney's goal-scoring form has recovered in the second half of the season but even in his lean spell he would always put in 100 percent and has often been the key driving force in key results.

The incident was Rooney running off towards his own fans and a camera being shoved in this face, which prompted an adrenaline fuelled moment as he told the haters, "What? F*** off."

Most people would have thought nothing of it and most wouldn't of even heard it as it was a very muffled sound as its not like a mic was being shoved into his face. But Sky Sports, as you would expect, apologised in case any one was offended. In this day and age it's not hard to offend someone, but most normal people would have taken that for what it was and moved on.

Rooney issue an apology after the event when he was being interviewed again by Sky and again I think most people would have moved on and thought nothing more about it.

But the media smelt blood and so rather than focus on the comeback, the hat-trick or a key day in the title race, they went for Rooney saying a four-letter word in a passionate moment.

The hacks got their hatchets got and condemned Rooney. They wanted a ban or at least a huge fine and for him to pay for what most would normal people would describe as a minor indiscretion.

Let's face it: footballers swear. You could pick out any match from any league and there will be at least one guy, usually a few more, will be screaming and shouting a few swear words.

Fans swear. Anyone who has been to a football match will know this. And not just individual fans, but songs like, "Referee's a W*****" will be sung by all.

People swear. Hell, I bet even these "journalists" have sworn a few times, but for some reason they expect Wayne Rooney not to.

Rooney forgot the golden media rule and that's do even the slightest thing that could be considered controversial and they will hang you for it.

They will ignore the good and focus on the bad because the papers don't care about sport, they care about selling papers and so they act like a common celebrity rag. This is the equivalent of snapping some random celebrity doing something a bit naughty or an actress that has just made a great movie puts on a few pounds and been snapped eating a bar of chocolate.

These stories bring more disrepute on to the game than any of the minor missteps by the athletes.

They go on about a Respect campaign. Well, maybe they should look in the mirror and start respecting fans rather that going on these petty rants trying to get players banned, trying to cost teams titles and trying to prevent fans from seeing there favourite players perform.