The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Just when it looked as if Steven Gerrard might be released without being charged in the brawl that tragically left at least one nightclub DJ alive, the Liverpool skipper came through as he has done so many times before, winning a late charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray. The last-minute heroics meant that a story that could have been forgotten as swiftly as the day he accidentally ran over a small child with his Bentley would instead live on, like a minor, distracting, very irritating insect awakened from its slumber in time to buzz on incessantly about its own effect on Liverpool’s title chances.
After previously making (but not, crucially, releasing) a statement to the effect that they would not be releasing any statements on the matter, Liverpool today released a statement pledging their full support to their captain “at this time,” because, you know, he tends to get down around New Year’s. In the meantime, the FA have vowed that Gerrard’s place in the England lineup is secure, unless he is convicted of a serious crime, or, presumably, unless Frank Lampard manages to put Fatboy Slim in traction in time for the next friendly.
I have no idea whether the FA would consider the ABH charge (which is relatively minor compared to the next level of assault up, Grievous Bodily Harm) to represent a serious crime. It’s possible—given his status and lack of a criminal record, it’s likely—that Gerrard is facing no more than a fine and a lecture, in which case the only long-term consequence of this will probably be a certain hostility toward his song requests from the international brotherhood of DJs. (“Really, mate? Sure you wouldn’t rather have Dancing Queen? I’ve got Dancing Queen all cued up. Say the word. No?”)
If he goes to jail, obviously—the court of public opinion being swayed more by punishment dispensed than by deeds actually committed—things will be different. But have you seen the pictures of him on the night of the incident? Nobody goes to jail for violence performed in a sweater like that. Tax fraud, yes. Making an illegal tack in a sailboat, certainly. But not fighting. Not in that v-neck. No chance.
by Brian Phillips · December 30, 2008