Why does the press protect Fabregas?

Why does the press protect Fabregas?


Update: Excellent piece on Arseblog over the Fabregas-spitting incident. Read here.

The tabloids have been depressingly unimaginative this morning. They lacked perspective (no mention of Fabregas’ past misdemeanours and no discussion / description of Gallas’ disputed goal,) and repeat the exact same quotes and writeup everywhere.

In fact, and this is sad considering how much I value the Guardian / BBC over the tabloids, only the Daily Mail had anything in detail to say about a) the events on the pitch and b) Fab’s past, and even they didn’t dig deep enough.

More than just unimaginative, this is biased and inaccurate reporting.

If this was John Terry being accused by the opposition manager, the press would have immediately dug up the events of last May and future analysis would have undoubtedly included that game against Spurs. If this had been Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo, their past indiscretions on and off the pitch would have been gleefully repeated.

This is not a rant against Fabregas – he’s talented, an invaluable asset to his team, a player fan love to watch, dictates the tempo of the game, controls it and can win the game for his team on his own – quite commendable for someone who turns 22 this May.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think Fabregas was an angel. Fact is, he’s not. Leaving aside the tiff he had with Mark Hughes and the scuffle with Frank Lampard in the Carling Cup final a couple of seasons back (in both cases he can be given the benefit of the doubt), here are some incidents involving Fabregas where, clearly, he’s not the innocent little Cesc his media image portrays him to be:

  • Fabregas spits in Ballack’s face – yellow card for spitting?
  • Fabregas dive against Chelsea (Robben) – playing role-reversal on the Dutch winger
  • Fabregas dive against Everton (Arteta) – the one where he kicks himself to the ground
  • Fabregas dive against Everton (Arteta 2) – the one where he rolled on the floor for eternity while the two teams scuffled around him
  • Fabregas tackles Cole from behind, tries to get him sent off
  • Fabregas v Wigan – tries to push Heskey on to the cameraman, clutches face (standard Fabregas fare, the face clutching, you’d think he was Ronaldo with the tender affection he shows to his gob.

He’s not a dirty player, I hear you say. Cristiano Ronaldo / Didier Drogba / Wayne Rooney etc etc – those are ‘dirty players’, you say. My point isn’t whether Fabregas is dirty or not, nor am I protecting any other player from criticism.

But when good players like Ronaldo (he’s the obvious example, but pick any from a long list of Keane, Vieira, Terry, Ferdinand, Cole, Gallas, Rooney, Robben, Lampard, etc) get caricaturised to the extent that no mention of them goes without their misdemeanours or mistakes being mentioned, is that the whole truth?

When equally good (not better, not worse) players like Gerrard, Torres, Henry, Fabregas, Carragher – all excellent players and stand up professionals – get elevated to god-like status with the press – the news filter for the masses – blind to their flaws, is that the whole truth?

The truth is, Fabregas is a very good footballer, but he also makes mistakes / cheats now and then, and might have spat on people a couple of times.

We go out of our way to talk about Rooney’s disciplinary problems and the fact that he’s ‘protected’ by the refs because of his status as England’s #1 striker. Hey, we’re talking about his ‘temper’ every single time Rooney is being discussed, so why not talk about Fabregas’ desire to win and how that pushes him to simulate fouls (learned at the feet of the great Thierry Henry, no less) and spit on people?

Doesn’t the world of football, especially the fans, deserve to know the whole truth?

Bonus: For Lionel Messi fans, you’ve seen the second coming of the hand of god, now see Messi spitting on the opposition (Barca v Malaga, Nov 2008).

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  1. maybe because it has yet to proven that he has done anything wrong last night or against Ballack.

  2. If I read first “Footballnews you can trust” and then below the article I just wonder – is it a case of shizophrenie ?
    News you can trust sound different, have actually facts on hand. Blaming other nmedia not being inventive or digging – wher’s the digging here apart from reshuffling some unfounded questionable quotes from elsewhere ?

    Doing your site no good with – sorry man.

  3. If it was John Terry they wouldn’t even care because he is English, same with Gerrard as well, infact you could not even comment on the articles on The Sun website about Gerrard being arrested

  4. the press wouldnt write about a load of rubbish rants that has no proof (pictures or video). you cannot say anything about last nights rants as there are no scenes to suggest so… i will suggest you buy yourself a beer and let it go..spare us from reading this crap.

  5. It’s funny how you described the media as being biased when you articles is as biased an article as I have seen. Could it be that there was nothing in the media because there is no prove? So the media should go crazy about how bad a person Cesc is because he MIGHT have spat on someone? It’s all speculation and accusations yet to be proven. So this entire article is based upon how the media should have lambasted a player for something the opposition is accusing him of but has no prove? One of the worst articles I have read here for a while (And this includes several other heavily biased articles).

  6. I’ve seen the video with Ballack and it isn’t conclusive. If he had spat at Ballack then he would have got a red card, the ref had a clear view of it. The press have given Fabregas a rough ride this morning everyone has repeated Brown’s accusations of ‘spitting’, nobody is accusing Phil Brown of ‘lying’.

  7. So this entire article is based upon how the media should have lambasted a player for something the opposition is accusing him of but has no prove

    @Josiah – Nope – sorry for getting you all worked up. It’s about how, whenever players with a reputation get mentioned in a similar incident, their past indiscretions (on-field or off-field) get brought up regardless of whether there’s proof that they did something wrong this time.

    In this case, the Ballack incident didn’t come up at all, nor did the tiff with Mark Hughes or, an incident that I didn’t mention in the article, Pizzagate.

    Get the difference?

    @Aziz – where did I quote anyone? Go see the videos, and read what I just said above.

  8. @Luwa Luwa – see above comment.

    @Mark – I’ve seen the Terry video with Vidic and that’s not conclusive either. Having said that, you can easily get a good idea of a player’s actions by knowing his pattern of behavior. Fab’s a great kid, but what makes him great also makes him what you see in the videos linked to above.

    He’s human, and a good one. No need to sugar-coat everything he does.

    You’re right, there’s no proof in this case and it shouldn’t get any attention. However this has still got far less attention than anything players with ‘reputations’ would be subjected to.

  9. Don’t jump to conclusions before the entire story has come out. Anyway, there is no reason to bring in Liverpool and its players in the midst of all this…its just sour grapes from the other day. The players that you mentioned – Terry, Ronaldo, Rooney, Drogba get accused very rightly because they are not model professionals. Now even leaving out diving all the players I mentioned – you wouldn’t want the kids to watch and learn the pathetic antics from them now would you. Yes they are wonderful players, but whining, petulance, sulking, back chatting with the ref all these would be hallmarks of them lot. and they get rightly scorned at by the media. you don’t see Fabregas, Torres, Messi, Giggs, Scholes get involved in such things (atleast not to an extent as those players). Hence they are given a easier ride by the media.

  10. speaking on behalf of the 3 Liverpool players you mentioned, i see Carragher making a lot of fouls but thats not cheating, Carragher is using tactical fouls. Like what Vidic did against Liverpool by pulling down Gerrard or Using your hand to save the ball off the line. Yes by definition of cheating it is cheating but really its playing within the rules of the game, nobody makes a big deal about it after the match do they? They just accept it was a tactical foul and move on.

    Gerrard does dive, and yes he is unfairly protected by the media because he is such a good role model for young kids, but like plenty of humans, he has his flaws.

    I’ve never seen Torres go down without contact, ive seen him make a meal out of minimum contact but ive never seen him just jump to the ground without foul contact, he knows that if he’s fouled go to ground because that’s the only way to get a free kick sometimes.

    Fabragaes again is such a good role model for young kids which is why the media protect him, maybe unfairly but thats just the way it is. From a footballing point of view United get all the press and they adore United, and rightly so for their achievements but Ronaldo, Rooney, Berbatov aren’t the guys people want kids to look up to.

  11. @ Ahmed,
    Frankly, I was not getting worked up. I was merely pointing out the fact that the whole focus of the article makes it sound like you want to see Fabregas get bashed in the media(regarding what he was accused of doing in the hull game) because you are not a fan of Arsenal and consequently were disappointed with the lack of coverage. With all due respect, it seems rather petty and childish.

    But I do however, agree with you that the media tend to have a field day when one of the players with a “reputation” are caught in similar situations. So if that is the case, your title and entire article is misleading. Rather than the media overprotecting Cesc, it would probably be more accurate to say that the media is unjust in their treatment of players. Why centre the whole article on how Fabregas is not as ‘angelic’ a person as we may think he is and how the media are not condemning him enough. Many other players(and managers) are seemingly protected by the media. Why harp on Fabregas after an incident that has not been proven? Why not write an objective article on how the media react differently to different players instead?

    My point of contention is that the article is written in such a seemingly biased manner that the point you are trying to get across (which probably is that the media loves making the ‘villains’ look worse and the ‘heroes’ look better) end up getting lost in the process. Sure Fabregas is not a perfect person. He has his character flaws like you have adequately pointed out (although I believe that the spitting incidences are non conclusive) but so does many other players, players who do not get criticized by the media either. Why not write an article about how the obviously malicious foul el hadji diouf commited on almunia in Blackburn’s 4-0 loss was not mentioned at all? Double standards in the media? sure. But is it any different here?

  12. Actually I quite agree with Ahmed. Fabregas is not the angel everyone makes him out to be, his talent on the field a pleasure for anyone to watch and at times he makes passes so brilliant that even Paul Scholes would have been proud of them. However in watching arsenal matches I have also seen the dirty fabregas that dives, makes absolutely awful tackles(and usually gets away with them), his former teamates have also hinted that it was he that threw the pizza a Sir Alex. point is great player but most people do an Arsene Wenger and fail to see any unsavoury incident involving Fabregas.

  13. Second time today I’ve heard this Ballack denies Fabregas spitting on him incident. Any source? As much as Ahmed’s sources have been labelled biased and bla bla bla, at least he has sources.

  14. @ Josiah I would n’t have put it better myself. @Ahmed “Football News You can trust?” give us all a break. u are more terrible than the media u are criticing. like so many have said b/4 this article is crap, petty and childish. until there is prove about phil brown’s allegation against fabregas all u are doing here is ranting. i have had my doubts about the objectivty of some the articles i read here, u have just confirm it. its now very official that this is a man u blog. so why do u even bother/care that any one other than a man u fan leaves a response to your often biased articles, with due respect to you and to those who write on this blog, especially those who @least try to be objective.

    • @LiL – will you start by sticking to one name when posting here? :)

      This article, like I explained before, is about how the press differs in its coverage of incidents involving different types of players. Some with a reputation get their ‘record’ drummed up every time regardless of their guilt, while others with a halo on their heads don’t get their past brought into the discussion.

      If you want to discuss that, great. If you want to trash the site because I told you Fabregas dives (which, by the way, the links prove, but doesn’t do anything to diminish his great footballing talents), then take it out by all means.

      Oh, and as for the Henry comment, that’s part of the same argument, discussed previously here on the site.

  15. Interesting article – particularly for the Ballack incident, which I’d forgotten. Would be very grateful if someone could point me in the direction of the source claiming Ballack says it wasn’t a spit here too – looks an awful lot like he spits, and not so much like he doesn’t spit. If it could be (ahem) wiped up, I’d love to know.

  16. For those who have brains, ask yourself, would Ballack continue to lay down if Fabregas spat at him? No action from Ballack at all. Video is inconclusive, looks more like a whiff of air to me.

  17. Well, my earlier comment was ‘moderated’, in that it does not appear in the thread. (It did for about 20 minutes after I posted it here. C’est la vie)

    The long and short of it: you start with arguing that the media has a soft spot for Fabregas and is conspiring to shield his flaws. These flaws should be highlighted if they are proven through trial or are caught on camera. When they are not, it is the realm of speculation and rumour-mongering, or as you call it “biased and inaccurate reporting”.

    Then you conclude by saying “Fabregas’ desire to win…pushes him to simulate fouls (learned at the feet of the great Thierry Henry, no less) and spit on people?” The fouls and dives we can account for, and condemn. Why are you trying to pass off the spitting accusations as facts, appending them to his personality?

    Neither Michael Ballack nor Bayern Munich nor UEFA took action against Fabregas for the spitting incident that has been quoted as a supposed ‘precedent’, as if Cesc is the second coming of Spit-Lord Diouf. And after his rant yesterday, Phil Brown said today that he will not go ‘tittle-tattle to the FA’. That’s because he doesn’t have a bloody case.

    What can and has been verified as unsporting or illegal behaviour should be condemned and punished. So while incidents of diving or play-acting by Cesc (few and far between, you must admit), as well as the pizza throwing incident at Old Trafford, have been rightfully pointed out, the manner in which you have reported and analysed the spitting accusations is highly irresponsible sensationalism, something you accuse the nefarious mainstream media of all the time in this space.

    This is a blog, so I don’t expect there to be fact-checking, proof-reading or other such things. But at the very least maintain some credibility by not contradicting yourself within the span of one post! Be responsible yourself before accusing others of irresponsibility.

    • the manner in which you have reported and analysed the spitting accusations is highly irresponsible sensationalism

      So now you know how I feel when people go on and on about Fabregas being god’s gift to mankind :)

    • I don’t expect there to be fact-checking, proof-reading or other such things

      As a sidenote, you should probably take note that most ‘opinion’ and ‘analysis’ articles written these days on BBC and Guardian are in the form of blogs. You make it sound like a bad thing :)

  18. @ northbanker thumps up.
    @Bilal I ve got the right to use any name i so choose who are u to tell me the name i use/not use whenever i post on this blog. stick to the point of the arguement instead of picking on an irrelevant point of reference. i stand by what have written with due respect to your feelings. i don’t post comments here to befriend you or any one. if fabregas is found guilty of spitting i concur he should be punished, but b/4 any allegation of spitting is proven we all have to keep our fingers crossed. stop the bitching please,and i say this with due respect, as u always preach “tongue in check”.

    • @LiL I pointed it out only because you criticised me for always being biased – anonymity provides you immunity with the same criticism, since your own comments over the last year or so have been controversial, to say the least.

      And are you going to argue about the point I mentioned earlier or keep sidestepping it?

  19. You say in your article Ahmed that you are not having a pop at Fabregas and then proceed to post links to previous Fabregas misdemeanours. It seems to me that people like yourself find it fashionable at the moment to criticise Arsenal at the drop of a hat. If Fabregas did spit at Brian Horton last night then that is unforgivable. But there is no proof or evidence to prove it so why not talk about what should be a great game on April 18 between Arsenal and Chelsea instead of spouting your usual pro Man Utd stance on everything. I hope Arsenal win either the FA cup or The Champions league and then We can ram your anti Arsenal comments straight down your throat

  20. That’s the thing, isn’t it: I’ve stated already that misdemeanours that can be proven should be accordingly punished. But oversimplification on one end of the moral spectrum does not justify similar excesses on the other end. If the positive PR Cesc gets ticks you off, does that necessitate terming it a media conspiracy and using allegations for character assassination?

    As for the ‘cleanliness’ of a player, it’s utterly relative, especially today when EVERY player dives and tries to extract undue advantage. No one is clean, thus the need for balanced views.

    The Guardian’s blogs (most of them anyway) are an exception as far as sports blogs are concerned; and that too because of the shortcomings I’ve pointed out. Several quality blogs are on my daily to-read list, but poor language, editing and reportage are the norm, not the exception, in the blogosphere. (Case in point: the conclusion of your article leads the reader to think that Cesc Fabregas spits at opponents, whereas the fact is that these are mere allegations)

  21. The majority of the video evidence in this article is inconclusive or plain weak.

    Ballack himself has said that Fabregas did not spit (hehe). As for the next couple of videos, I can say there might be a fair amount of exaggeration but there is definitely enough violent contact that i’d give him the benefit of the doubt.

    As for the Cole video, bad decision to tackle from behind and histrionic reaction to the neck grab, but an unwarranted neck nonetheless. that’ll get you a jab to the nose anywhere outside of football.

    Shame on the Heskey video, foul play I’ll say for Cesc.

    Looking at his past “indiscretions” on the field, no way I’d put him on Rooney’s, Ronaldo’s, or Terry’s level of petulance, shameful deception, or mindless thuggery.

  22. @ ahmed and all those who were using the video clip of the bayern munich/arsenal match of the 2005 cl as a pointer to establish claims that cesc has a record of spitting @ opponents eat this: It was reported that cesc got a yellow for yelling insults @ ballack not for spitting @ him as you (Ahmed) & many others will want all of us to believe. here is the link http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/fo….u may want to pay particular attention to the last paragraph of the entire report though it will do u alot of good if u read everything. That is not to say that cesc is a saint, just so that certain burgous claims can be trash out, he may have commited the other crimes that u made reference to in your article. Good & fine but if this report is correct then it debunks your earlier claim that cesc has a history of spitting. All other accusations remains as abi nitio, so until there are proves that this time around cesc actually spat on/@ the asst. manager of hull city, all u are doing is ranting, but in any case if he is found guilty, fair and square he should face the music. but my instincts tells me that he won’t. but unlike u i will not jump the gun, i will keep my fingers crossed, so until then, you (Mr. Bilal) is guilty of the fallacy of hasty conclusion,based on your first point of reference @ least. your other claims may be true i don’t want to contest that.

  23. this is not directed to/@ any one in particular, just some prove as to phil brown’s claim that wenger refused to shake his hands when the two teams met earlier in the season. the hull win @ the emirates shows that wenger actually shoke brown’s hand here are the links :www.eurosport.yahoo.com/27092… & http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/fo... And @ the kc Stadium on the return fixture here is the video clip link :www.youtubecom/watch?v=yex9…. which means phil brown has been lying all along about the handshake allegation. did arsene shake his hands after the game yesterday? probably not, as some say he was no where to be found @ the end of the match probably b/cos he was somewhere in the pitch venting his anger @ the officials for allowing Gallas’controversial goal to stand. as to why he did not finish the handshake first prior to his going to make his case, we all don’t know,we can only conjecture. may be he was so angry and he never bordered. either way, wenger who could not wait for him went into the tunnel without shaking his hand, so i heard, don’t know who or what to believe to be honest. probably true & probably not. but my take is : if phil brown had lied about the handshake what makes his allegation about cesc’s spitting @ his asistant any more different or true? especially when he made such serious allegation without any prove or witnesses except him and the his assistant. the fa are investigating let’s hope they bring out the truth, until then folks i rest my case.
    not b/cos the article itself was directed @ wenger, but just so that when there are allegations such as this, it should be backed with facts not biased sentiments/reporting. I guess that is what most media houses where waiting to establish b/4 they crucify or not crucify, cesc, wenger and arsenal fc as the case may be.

  24. The Independent’s done an article about Fabregas’ priors – insulting Souness for the negativity of his Blackburn side and throwing pizza at Alex Ferguson. That’s more the stuff that’s related to the spitting, not the diving.

    • @weg – that would be Hughes, wouldn’t it? And yes, after I wrote the article there has been a mention of his priors, mostly related to the Ballack incident though.

  25. good article… But i’d beg to differ…

    The case on Fabregas is still out in the open…

    Why should the press or you or anyone for that matter judge Fabregas…
    Phil Brown has accused Fabregas of Spitting, Fabregas has categorically denied the allegations…
    FA has ordered an investigation in the issue. Only after it is proved either ways would it be right to react to such a thing… Til then its prudent of all media and anyone sane to not react to such a allegation.

  26. I usually agree with your articles, Ahmed, but the videos are just… weak – all but two of them – against Robben and against Heskey it seems like cheating, but the others – in the two with Arteta I totally disagree with you, the one with A. Cole I agree with Chris, and there was enough said about the Balack Incident. Although Fabregas is not an angel (he’s Spanish after all – Southern blood, etc. etc. ), you just don’t give the right examples – sorry, weak…

  27. The long and short of it is that apart from Fabregas and Brown’s assistant, no one is sure of what transpired in the tunnel. Wishing that the press would get on Fabregas’ back over an accusation that has yet to be proven is pathetic and irresponsible because as you may have failed to notice, Soccerlens is a journalistic site too so you are being so much more irresponsible than those tabloids you knock. I admit that Fabregas’ is far from a saint, but Fabregas does nothing wrong in either of the Arteta video links you have put up, in one he got hit in the face and in the other as he attempts to clear the ball, his foot hits against arteta’s leg, causing it to hit into fab’s standing leg. And although it is a wreckless challenge, Cole clearly lashes out at Fabregas’ in another video.

  28. I support this Ahmed; too often are Arsenal players and Wenger given “get out of jail free” cards because of the way they play.

    It’s a shame really, and I commend you for speaking out about it amidst a media populous who cowardly chose not to.

  29. Nothing like the Arsenal fans for increasing site activity. Rattle the cage a little and their out of the blocks like a junk yard dog, howling and baying for blood.

    Never fails. Clever strategy too! :)

  30. Markus Hoerwich, Bayern Munich Director of Communications has this to say about the Cesc/Ballack alleged spat ‘It definately never happened. I would have been the first person to be informed and would have taken it forward’

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