Friday 18 September 2009

Has the furore over the Adebayor saga overlooked the issue of racist abuse from fans?
After a big-spending summer, Manchester City could always expect to be this season's big talking point. But few can argue that one of those signings, Emmanuel Adebayor, has grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The FA has now charged Adebayor with violent conduct for aiming a kick at Robin van Persie's face in City's 4-2 win over Arsenal.

He's also been charged with improper conduct after running the length of the pitch to celebrate his goal in front of the Arsenal supporters.

The penalty means an immediate three-game ban ruling the Togo striker out of City's derby clash with United on Sunday (19 September 2009).

"I just want to say sorry to everyone," Adebayor said after the game, describing his actions as 'silly'. "People who know me know how I behave and what happened today was emotion. I was over-emotional."

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes was quick to attempt to douse the enraging flames of the situation.

"You need to cut him a bit of slack," he said. "He's an over-emotional guy and he was just caught up in the moment. He was just trying to share the moment with the fans in the corner.

"He's got a special affinity with the guys in that corner of the field and the Arsenal fans just happen to be close to that area too."

Racist abuse

Yet some are asking whether Adebayor deserves the punishment issued to him. The player claimed that he'd been insulted by the away fans throughout the game. So do the Arsenal supporters have any part to play in the furore?

Let's not forget the Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign: if the alleged racist abuse and banana-throwing is true, does that make Arsenal fans just as guilty of incitement as Adebayor?

Also, what part does Robin van Persie have to play in the saga? His initial tackle on Adebayor was also aggressive and he allegedly gesticulated at home fans in an offensive manner.
Take a step back and some of these claims and counter-claims read like a playground squabble. Violence and racism have no place in the game, but surely both players and supporters have a responsibility to at least act their age...

And if there is racist language being directed at players, it would be good to see stewards take action and, with police support, get them out and ban them.

It was always going to be an emotional day for Adebayor: facing his former side for the first time and allegedly enduring torrents of abuse.

Whatever the provocation, he's a highly-paid professional footballer. If he has emotional 'baggage', then surely he should leave that in the dressing room and conduct himself appropriately.

If he'd done that, City wouldn't be without their top striker for what could be three crucial games.
Published on the BBC Manchester website. Check the site weekly for articles related to 'Blue Tuesday'

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