Sometimes people forget that football players aren’t perfect

Today, there has been a video of Marcus Rashford circling social media, where he is taped shouting towards the fans just before boarding the team bus after last night’s Champions League exit against Atletico Madrid.

In the video, it is seen that he is reacting to fans shouting towards him and a few other players as they complain about the performance some members of the team put in. Rashford, upon hearing the fans, stops and turns around to reply to them.

Everyone is really angry about this.

…Why?

You can be frustrated about the performance of players over the course of this season. You can be angry with the result and exit last night. You can be annoyed at the state of the club. Anyone can – it’s completely our right to have and express our opinions on things.

But what I don’t understand is why people hold football players to unrealistic and exeptional standards, then burst into complete fury when these unreal standards aren’t met.

Just because someone in any business earns a lot of money, that does not mean they do not care about how said business is going, or their recent job performance.

To be an elite athlete, especially an elite footballer, you need to care a lot more than just about your bank account. To be Cristiano Ronaldo, to be LeBron James, you need to care about how you perform. If you perform badly and you care, you know it and you feel horrible about it. If other people then start hurling abuse and jeering you about the same thing, that will hurt even more. Sometimes, it will hurt enough that you feel the need to reply.

But you aren’t replying because you don’t care, you reply because you DO.

A lot of people online seem to be angry about Rashford’s reaction as if it proves he doesn’t care about those who support him. Now, to me, there are two flawed parts to this argument.

The first is that if someone claims to support a player, why would they then decide to deliberately heckle that same player and attempt to make them angry/demotivate them while they are low?

Yes, they want to let out frustration, but letting it out in that fashion to me seems just anti-social. And to let it out on a player you claim to support feels backwards.

The second part of this argument I disagree with is the notion that Rashford had his outburst because he was angry at the fans.

This season Marcus Rashford hasn’t been the winger we are used to, and this is most likely due to an accumulation of different factors. But those in the video and subsequently who said “how dare he” have missinetpretend the situation – if Rashford is releasing any frustration, he will be furstration over himself and his own performance, and most likely has nothing to do with the fans.

Marcus Rashford has since addressed the incident through a statement on his social media pages. Rashford, in his message, said “last night my emotions got the better of me. I’m a human being.”

This is exactly my point. Say what you want about football players, but at the end of the day they have the same basic psychological functions as the rest of us – they like to be liked, they don’t like to be hated, they struggle when times are bad, they are happy when things are going well.

Finally, I want to float one final key idea – why would Rashford reacted like that if he didn’t care?

Surely, if Marcus Rashford didn’t care, he would have just walked on without a second thought about the words being thrown at him. To me, the fact he turned around and wanted to speak and stand up for himself shows that he really does care about the loss.

I know it’s potentially a controversial point to make considering all the debate surrounding the player and his future at the club, and who knows, maybe I’m just being naive and blind to the truth, but I don’t understand the reaction to this and his subsequent apology.

People’s opinions on the person Marcus Rashford have changed drastically in the last few years. When he was breaking through the academy, he was seen as the innocent kid living his dream. As he continued to develop and play for the club, he was seen as mature for his age and the future of the club.

Then he did something that had nothing to do with football – he took on the government during lockdown and made sure thousands of children could be fed during the pandemic when the government were set to give up on them.

Then he did another awesome thing – he wrote a children’s book that was aimed to inspire children across the world to fulfull their potential. Everyone loved him.

Suddenly, his football performances have dropped off after a series of injuries, and due to these poor performances, people are re-judging his character. Again, I might just be being naive, but I do not see how bad performances on the pitch correlate to his personality as a human.

Just a penny for your thoughts.

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