Ramsey’s injury is the fault of the greedy and incompetent FA

I’m angry.  Really angry.  Ramsey is just a kid.  His career is threatened and I really feel bad for him.  What’s really pissing me off is that we could foresee Ramsey’s injury happening to an Arsenal player this season.  And the fault entirely rests on the FA and the refs.  This wasn’t a case of Shawcross behaving badly, this was the culmination of xenophobia combined with the cult of the profit that has allowed horrid officiating to continue in the EPL.  And now we have a young man who’s career might never be the same because of hate, ineptitude and greed.

It’s difficult to tie any one incident to a string of behavior.  Where does the causation begin or end?  In legal terms, at least in the States, we always look to the “but-for” causation in negligence.  But-for actions by X, Y would not be hurt.  This is difficult in life generally and also in football; injuries happen all the time, some worse than others, but they are a regular feature of the game.  What makes Ramsey’s case special, is the collection of circumstances surrounding injuries at Arsenal.  If this keeps up, not only will Arsenal not be able to field a team that plays beautifully, but the EPL is going to become a locus for the thugs of football, while the best go abroad.

For Arsenal in particular, things are getting out of hand.  In five years we have the horrific injuries to Diaby, Eduardo and now Ramsey.  We’ve accepted that we’ve been abandoned by the officials: three penalty shots ALL season after the Eduardo “incident” in August.  And, all we hear is the constant reframe that teams just need to play Arsenal physical to knock us out of our game.

But there are other issues at stake.  The first is the EPL’s obsession with a physical game, to the detriment of actual technic and skill.  As an EPL fan I generally appreciate this, it’s anti-diving and players are required to stay on their feet.  But lets not be coy, this kind of physical sport works well for the EPL’s bottom line as well.  Just like people watch racing for the crashes and hockey for the fights, the EPL does well with the image of the most physical league.  But the English saying that rugby is a thugs game played by gentlemen and football (soccer) is a gentlemen’s game played by thugs, is becoming tiring.  In effect, Arsenal is punished for trying to play the beautiful game, when other teams resort to rugby tactics.  An irony considering our past.

But there is also the rampant xenophobia in the EPL against foreigners.  I’m an Arsenal fan, but I’ve watched foreign players on teams I can’t stand get the shaft on calls that an English boy would get.  Arsenal, considered the foreigners’ team, is particularly vulnerable to this bias.  Three penalty kicks all season.  Three?  You can’t be serious?

So Ramsey’s injury made me angry.  I’m not mad at Shawcross.  I’ve seen the hit. It doesn’t look overly malicious to me.  But I understand what the players were upset about.  They saw something like this coming.  Every game teams maul us physically.  Every game is too physical.  But the refs and the FA have steadfastly refused to draw a line in the sand.  I’m not saying Arsenal should receive special attention, but the officials (from the FA down to the line official) must start to address these issues by erecting some rules to deter wild aggression.

For instance, two-footed tackles need to be frowned upon with almost automatic yellow cards.  Two-footed challenges are almost never benign and the receiving player is almost always hurt to some degree.  When a player throws two-feet out, his intentions are pretty manifest.  He’s abandoned control for shock and awe.  Also, set the number of cautions or warnings a player can receive before getting a yellow card.  As it stands now, too much leeway is given to officials that frankly, aren’t that good.  Four cautions and bang, yellow card.

And finally, it’s time for post-match reviews to increase punishment after a fact-finding.  If a player receives a red card for an injury they inflict on another player and later is found to have acted with extreme indifference, the attacking player should be banned for that season or the next.  Simple negligence rules: reckless or gross indifference to life/career = ban.  Notice that this would not apply to Shawcross.  I’m not just lashing out, enough is just enough.

So now I’m sitting here pissed.  I’m angry at the FA for allowing this to go unchecked and I’m worried for Ramsey.  Least we forget, he’s 19, he’s just a kid.  I sincerely hope his career is okay.  Arsenal will be fine.  We will recover, but our hopes and prayers must go to Ramsey.  And I’m looking forward to the day he runs back onto the field next season and we can give him a big cheer and let him know that he was in our thoughts.

-the student


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