FanDuel - WFBC

November 20, 2009

AP Columnist: 'Soccer Players Can't Be Trusted': Although French striker Thierry Henry has admitted he cheated and believes the France/Ireland World Cup qualifier should be replayed, FIFA has rejected Ireland's request for a replay. AP columnist John Leicester draws this conclusion from the Hand of Frog incident: "Soccer players just can't be trusted to be honest and Thierry Henry proved that by choosing to play volleyball against Ireland," he writes. "Rather than immediately tell the referee that he had broken the rules of the game, Henry charged off in celebration. ... the sad truth is that many players, like Henry, also do whatever they can to get away with fouls and unjust decisions."

posted by rcade to soccer at 10:47 AM - 21 comments

Of course, the Irish defender admitted that his team would have done the same thing. I can't even imagine a situation where an "honorable" team would play and admit every rule evaluation while playing a less honorable team who would not. I think players assume that it all evens out in the end. The player's job is to try to win, the referees job is to keep it fair.

posted by bperk at 11:10 AM on November 20

After seeing all of the flop artists in futbol why would I be surprised that Thierry Henry didn't run up to an official and immediately admit to the touch? And why should he? That's not his job.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:13 AM on November 20

It's a pretty sad testament to sportsmanship in soccer that people find it unthinkable that Henry might admit the handball to a ref in the aftermath of the goal.

Why should he do it? Because he was wrong in the heat of the moment to play the ball off his hand, and at this point it's clear he's marred his reputation and embarrassed his country. So instead of being known for doing something shocking and admitting his mistake while it could be corrected, he's got this albatross around his neck.

posted by rcade at 11:21 AM on November 20

I do not see anything in the linked articles that suggests that Henry admitted he cheated, Dunne's characterization notwithstanding. (If you look at what Henry allegedly said, Dunne recounted it as "He just said he handled it, he didn't mean it" -- but then goes on to make his own conclusion that "Looking at it, it's quite obvious he did mean it.") Henry clearly has admitted that he handled the ball and that the goal should not have stood, but my personal definition of cheating (and I know we had a big semantic argument over this on SportsFilter some months or years back) requires intent. I am not sure he intended to handle the ball -- although, personally, the second bit of handling (where he played the ball off of his hand after it glanced off of his forearm) seems like it may have been intentional. But Henry seems steadfast in arguing that his handball was an instinctive/inadvertent action (or reaction).

posted by holden at 11:54 AM on November 20

The article says that Dunne confirmed that Henry said the words "I cheated" to him and it was shown by TV cameras. Other press accounts make the same claim. What he meant by the word is open to interpretation, but if he used the word it's good enough for me.

posted by rcade at 12:44 PM on November 20

What's the difference between Henry handing the ball, and Chase Utley fouling one off his body but still running hard to first? In both cases, the umpire/referee missed the call. In both cases, the player could have admitted to the offense. Why would we call Henry unsportsmanlike, while Chase Utley 'plays the game the right way'?

(I'm a Phillies fan, by the way, and buy Utley's argument that he's been on the wrong end of that one many times before).

If you expect Henry to admit to the referees when he's handed a ball, then to be fair, you have to expect the same of every other player on the field. Is anyone suggesting that every player gives himself up when he's committed a foul that the ref missed?

posted by mikemacman at 01:05 PM on November 20

I agree with mike. It's the ref's job to call the rules on the field.
When people start calling for O-lineman to tell the ref they held on every play, or for a point guard to admit when he travels and isn't called for it, or an NBA center to tell the ref there was contact under the rim and it wasn't called, then they can bitch that Henry should have gone straight the the refs.
If what Henry did was cheating, then pretty much every player in team sports cheats.

posted by jmd82 at 01:25 PM on November 20

The article says that Dunne confirmed that Henry said the words "I cheated" to him and it was shown by TV cameras. Other press accounts make the same claim. What he meant by the word is open to interpretation, but if he used the word it's good enough for me.

Somehow I overlooked that stretch of the article; comment(s) rescinded.

posted by holden at 01:47 PM on November 20

If what Henry did was cheating, then pretty much every player in team sports cheats.

Agreed. I mean, if people were completely honest, we'd need a referee only once in a blue moon.

posted by dfleming at 02:11 PM on November 20

I'm with mike and jmd on this one. Maybe another good case for video replay help for officials.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:13 PM on November 20

If what Henry did was cheating, then pretty much every player in team sports cheats.

No one is disputing that a lot of small cheating goes on. But what Henry did -- and the consequences of it -- were huge enough that the president of his country was asked to weigh in on the matter.

posted by rcade at 02:51 PM on November 20

Just one more reason why I love the game of golf. So now it's (1) honest players policing themselves; and (2) sweet plaid pants

posted by tahoemoj at 03:27 PM on November 20

Upset Thierry didn't admit his transgression? Then become a golf fan!

posted by jjzucal at 03:30 PM on November 20

Let's not get carried away here.

posted by rcade at 03:30 PM on November 20

'Soccer Players Can't Be Trusted'

Because, you know, if the MLB steroids scandal, the NFL's Patriots filming games scandal, and the recent allegation of NBA refs fixing games has taught us anything, its that you can trust every sport that isn't soccer.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:04 PM on November 20

If there were video replay available of every play in every sport, and the video replay showed indisputable evidence of the validity or error on every call, then what the hell would we have to bitch about every day? I say leave it alone and let humans both play and officiate the games.

posted by Howard_T at 04:27 PM on November 20

Roy Keane yesterday launched a savage attack on the Republic of Ireland players and the Irish football establishment for their complaints about Thierry Henry's handball and told them they were just sympathy-seeking, "mentally weak" hypocrites who should "get over it".

Roy Keane gets it.


the NFL's Patriots filming games scandal,

Everyone has done this at one time or another and it has zero effect on the outcome of the game. Ask anyone in pro football about this.

posted by JButton at 07:52 PM on November 20

Everyone has done this at one time or another and it has zero effect on the outcome of the game.

Documentation please.

posted by tommytrump at 08:34 PM on November 20

Everyone has done this at one time

Exactly. They're all cheaters.

posted by Joey Michaels at 08:54 PM on November 20

Come on, rcade, Henry's reputation hasn't been marred by this, nor has he brought dishonor to his country. The same thing happened with the "Hand of God" incident, and Maradona is still one of the most respected footballers of all time (his coaching leaves much to be desired, however). England didn't get a replay and as far as I know, didn't ask or expect one. While I sympathize with the Irish squad, at this point I think they have no choice but to move on.

posted by Goyoucolts at 12:29 AM on November 21

So much for the oft quoted falsehood that sports are "character building" given many of the sleazy assessments of what's in the players' best interests proferred above.

posted by Plaintruth at 04:47 AM on November 27

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.