British soccer hardmen pale in comparison

Craig Bellamy has impulse control issues, Lee Bowyer is a racist thug, Vinnie Jones enforces by squeezing sensitive body parts of the opposition, and Pedro Mendes is a favourite target of career dolts like Ben Thatcher and Joey Barton. And in England, even a petulant Cesc Fabregas can be termed as a goon.
Bellamy’s recent behavior was boneheaded, in fact it was downright comical, caused by a wee bit too much to drink. There is a difference between Bellamy’s prankish conduct and the premeditated violence of Thatcher’s inexcusable foul on Mendes. In fact, it should remind us that there are more Ben Thatchers’ and practitioners of his type of cynical violence in other countries and other leagues. Remember Brazilian midfielder Leonardo’s vicious elbow to the head of US player Tab Ramos that fractured his skull in the 1994 World Cup. In the same World Cup, Italian Mauro Tassotti was suspended for 8 games by FIFA for bloodying Spain’s Luis Enrique. Maradona’s fight against Atletico Bilboa that led to a melee ended with Schuster’s infamous flying kick to the head of an unsuspecting Bilbao player recorded for posterity. Roberto Carlos was suspended for hitting a referee in a match against Portugal that Brazil lost, 2-1. And how can one forget Marco Materazzi who always manages to hit new lows.
The British can berate and bemoan their so called thuggish players but none of their actions have led to tragic consequences of the type that befell Colombian player Andres Escobar or the controversial death of Cristiano Junior, a Brazilian player playing for Indian soccer club, Dempo who died on the field following a tackle by the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper, Subrata Paul.
There is far more accountability and transparency in Britain than other countries. The irritating intrusiveness that British tabloid journalism brings to bear on its media figures, including soccer players, targeting their foibles, has the unintended consequence of raising the awareness of breakdowns in decorum; before they can get out of hand and lead to loss of a career, property, limb, or even life seen more commonly in other countries and leagues. British hardmen can be lampooned for their prankishness and some even go onto lucrative movie careers.

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