Usually you can't change the channel on the TV or turn the page of a newspaper without seeing an image of Steven Gerrard. The majority of the time this is down to something good—usually Gerrard dragging a Fernando Torres-less Liverpool out of a ditch against lesser opponents.
But lately, Stevie G. has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Gerrard is often perceived as a role model, one of the few footballers who don't crave media attention. But, when he does get it, he doesn't complain and sees it as an opportunity to discuss Liverpool or other football matters, rather than the usual trash we receive from celebrities (ie. fashion, political crap they don't understand etc.).
Gerrard, for the most part, has been loyal to Liverpool and its fans and doesn't pull a Joey Barton and kick the crap out of anyone he sees for the fun of it. This has remained the same besides once running over a kid (but he made up for it) and once handing in a transfer, which is something United fans often remind me about even though arguably their best player, Wayne Rooney, was once an Everton player.
But, he quickly transformed into a player who kissed his new clubs badge in front of the fans of a club that would risk trying to give a 17-year old unproven Rooney a chance.
Recently, however, Gerrard has hit the headlines for being charged with ABH—at least I think that's what it's called—after reacting to a DJ in a club. I'm not condoning Gerrard's actions, but someone who is so well known wouldn't lash out without being provoked.
The best bet is that the Manchester United fan DJ decided that a loyal fan's job is to provoke an opposing teams' player while trying to celebrate a victory, instead of turning up at Old Trafford to cheer his team on.
Witnesses have said that the DJ reacted angrily at Gerrard's request to change the music (hardly a big deal, and every club I've been to allows you to request a song you want to hear) and that he pushed Gerrard in the chest. Gerrard instinctively reacted by elbowing the guy in the face.
Anyway, this takes me onto my main point of discussion—what are football's governing bodies doing to stop things like this happening on and off the pitch?
The likelihood is that Gerrard will be hit with a two week fine and about a hour of community service, but the fact is that there's a possible five-year sentence as a punishment.
The fact that the latter is even a possibility (a small one though) amazes me when people are getting away with worse on the pitch.
About a week or two ago, Wayne Rooney threw an elbow at Stoke player Faye. This act went unpunished; he may not have made contact, but there was intent. Now, I'm not saying he should be given a three month ban, but at least a fine for an unprovoked attack that could have been worse.
A few weeks earlier than that Rooney stamped on Aalborg's keeper (at least I think it was Aalborg). Anyone who has half a brain could see that Rooney aimed his foot at the keeper. United fans can argue that he was falling back and just trying to regain balance as he stumbled back, but if this was true, surely there wouldn't be enough force to cause the goalkeepers chest to bleed. This act went unpunished yet again.
Using another example: Danny Guthrie, earlier in the season, broke Fagan's leg with a malicious kick. If that would have happened in the centre of Manchester and Danny Guthrie was a normal person, he'd be sat in a prison cell right now, but instead he received a ban for a couple of games and nothing more.
The problem is the FA, UEFA, FIFA etc. are too busy worrying when their next TV deal runs out, rather than the thuggish acts that sometimes occur on the pitch. It's not enough to give people like Danny Guthrie a slap on the arse and a telling off; they need to start giving out proper punishments. I'm not saying prison sentences, but Danny Guthrie should have been banned until the end of the season.
Because the next time Wayne Rooney stumbles back and tries to "regain balance," the keeper might not be as lucky and get a face full of Rooney's studs, which could cause serious damage (Petr Cech got off lightly.)
Plus, they need to stop the rule that two yellow cards can't be rescinded. I'm tired of watching someone who kicked someone in the head get the same punishment as a player who's made a decent ball winning tackle and get booked and then get a second yellow for kicking the ball away because Rob Styles can't keep his cards in his pocket.