Lessons and indiscretions

Gone before he even got to step onto the MiniEstadi pitch, Sergi Guardiola’s contract with Barça B was rescinded today, after a series of Tweets from his past came back to whack him upside the noggin. There was anti-Catalan sentiment, barbs at Messi and of course, the unforgivable “Hala Madrid!”

The player says that he didn’t send those Tweets, that he would never offend like that, and a friend got hold of his phone and posted the stuff. Ah, youthful hijinks.

The club, of course, in a bit of snuffling dudgeon, said “He said WHAT?!” and made young Guardiola into the newest member of Unemployed Footballers, to “Huzzahs!” from culers, along with much mirth. But there’s a lot to be considered here, so let’s do this point by point:

— If you’re a 24-year-old midfielder going to a club that grows midfielders like dandelions, it’s probably a good idea to scour your social media persona every now and again. This is, of course, true no matter where you go. Employers, as part of due diligence, check on employees. So if you’re an accountant, going for a job at a mainline firm, it’s probably a good idea to make sure there aren’t pictures of you, drunk and laying on a money-strewn bed, flipping a double bird to the world. You won’t get that job. So Guardiola messed up.

— The club didn’t do its due diligence before the contract, but as so many contracts have the equivalent of a morals clause, it’s easy to get out. Folks scoffing at the scouting of the club are misguided. There is scouting, which evaluates a player’s on-pitch quality, then the scrubbing of a player afterward, to make sure doesn’t have unfortunate stuff in his past, like saying he doesn’t want to share a locker room with a gay player, biting, or being found guilty of making racist remarks, which brings us to the most valuable lesson:

— If you’re good enough at your job, it doesn’t matter what you say or do. Watch the backflips and bending that France Football will do to ensure that its key forward manages to play in the Euros, speaking of friends getting somebody in trouble. Karim Benzema has some still unknown part in an attempt to blackmail a France NT teammate. But the goals, people! Suarez “deserves a second chance,” because visions of goals were dancing in culer heads. Look at Rakitic, to the manor born. If young Guardiola had been the second coming of Xavi, the club would have found a way to work around those offending Tweets. As it is, he’s an excellent player in the Segunda B context, which makes him disposable.

— Don’t mess with politics. Barça is a bright, shining symbol of Catalanisme, never more so than right now, as a board has wrapped itself in the flag under yet another president. Laporta and Rosell tried to out-Catalan each other, and now Bartomeu is in it to win it. He’s battling the UEFA Esteladas fine like a Trojan, even as he and everyone else knows Quixote had a better chance with those windmills. It’s the spirit of the thing. So a disposable player Tweets something negative about Catalunya, and out he goes. Sacked. Duh. But of course, having a sponsor that is questionable is okay. “It’s Qatar Airways, which isn’t the regime, and anyhow the biggest problem is that the shirt was sold too cheaply.” Okay. But it was actually pretty expensive. Everything is malleable, even a bright, shining symbol. “Look at all the money they are giving us,” says the president, brushing mud from the club crest. Politics is malleable. With enough money, a piece of iron will bend like a napkin.

— Don’t tolerate a knucklehead. The club should have jettisoned his butt, not because he was stupid, but because he wasn’t careful. We’re all boneheads at some point or another. When confronted with that boneheadedness, the folks in charge of your future have some decisions to make. The club didn’t dump him because of the Tweets, from this chair. He got dumped because he’s a bonehead, and boneheads are too expensive at the Segunda B level.

One of my moral barometers and a member of the BFB team, who is blackwhitengrey on Twitter, said that she was uncomfortable with the decision. That makes two of us, for the reasons laid out above. Players are buttheads all the time. Don’t forget L’Affaire Busquets. The question is, what is the potential cost and gain to and for the club? This dictates how said entity will deal with it. John Terry, Jamie Vardy and a number of others, all plying their trade at the toppity top top of the modern game, because they are so good that people look the other way. It happens in every sport. That’s the uncomfortable part, the moral malleability.

No, I don’t believe that Barça can sell the shirt to Qatar, use the money to buy Suarez, say nothing at all about Rakitic, forget about Busquets, then jettison some young midfielder for a few dimwitted Tweets. It’s behavior that is contradictory. And the same culers who are snarling “Good riddance, ya heathen, you did it and you know you did,” were screaming at anyone unwilling to countenance Suarez coming to the club. Second chances, he’s in therapy, Evra’s a dirty liar and goals, you know. A Treble is the result, and does the cost of that treble really matter? Good question.

So for many, this situation is more complex that just a knucklehead who got busted with something stupid in his past. It’s about hypocrisy, and the tyranny of quality. Basically, Guardiola wasn’t good enough to be a butthead. So he’s out. But it’s fair to ask questions about outrage, standards and a club’s flexibility at convenient moments.

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In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

10 Comments

  1. luisthebeast
    December 28, 2015

    For me it s not a big deal.It s better to talk for players like David Babunski who spend his holidays helping people than that.Footballers are in their majority people who have not the perfect education,they are young and they say a lot of dumb things.We all love to watch them in the field but out of that they are ordinary boring people.Many of them are racists,homophobics,maybe facists or whatever.I cant blame them,they play football from a youth age,they did not ended college,they had a life with no much education or knowledge of a lot of things.

  2. lovell
    December 28, 2015

    Wait ! What did Rakitic do???
    Anybody has an idea on the matter?

  3. lovell
    December 28, 2015

    *anybody with an idea..

  4. ooga aga
    December 28, 2015

    Good honest post Kxevin.

    Rakitic said he wouldn’t want to share a locker room with a homosexual.

  5. ChaoticReaper
    December 28, 2015

    Would you change the stadium to “Hala Madrid Camp Nou” if you’d never have to worry about money again? Unlimited budget?

  6. December 29, 2015

    I wish, club had shown some restraint. If it was upto me, would have asked him to be extremely careful and warn him about dismissal for future actions.
    But, really dont understand what was the Busquets issue?

    Kevin, its not always I agree with you completely on football. Your best 5 list is spot on. I loved seeing Busquets on no.2.

    • Davour
      December 29, 2015

      If I recall correctly, Busquets called Marcelo “a monkey”, or something similar.

      This article is, of course, quite correct. But this happens in all fields, and it’s part of the inevitable hypocrisy of our species (which does not mean it’s excusable), all down to the lofty words about everybody’s equal worth as human beings…

      Big dogs move on to the next club, board, government or CEO position or whatever; smaller dogs must run and fight for their place, no room for slip-ups.

      I think the decision to dump him is absurd, but Barca is a politically sensitive club. I guess an apology was not enough for such a heinous crime…

  7. December 29, 2015

    I am not sure you can compare what this kid did to what Suarez, Rakitic and Busquets did. They are separate issues, one is an issue of Catalanism and identifying Catalanism with Barcelona, the other is an issue of morality.

    Barcelona does not and should not claim to be morally superior to any other club. Mas que un club is a political statement, not a moral one. So when a player publicly critisises Catalans he is publicly criticizing what the club stands for, that is not the same as a player who says something racist or bites somebody, as bad as those things are, they do not really have anything to do with what the club ethos is. If you do not believe they should be at the club because of their actions that is a fair point and opinion I can respect, however I do not think it is the same issue and I can see why the club would take strong action on this but not on the other non catalan related issues.

  8. luisthebeast
    December 29, 2015

    Good luck Grimaldo to ur new adventure!!I know that this transfer will have much criticism but i dont understand why people blame the board and not Lucho who never called him!!!But i am worry for something more important!!!Can the club afford paying Leo 40m a year and Neymar 30m????I am not sure what sacrifices must do to the soul to our philosophy to keep paying such salaries!!!From one view i understand that we have to sell some players to bring another!!!I dont know but for me teams like City PSG and madrid,force us to go to situations we are not ready to go.

  9. G6O
    December 30, 2015

    Some people here might get offended but there is a very big difference between this case and Rakitic, Suarez, etc. Those situations were just some social justice warrior BS on the part of the people so concerned about their behavior. I have said it repeatedly, I don’t think any of those “transgressions” were worth the attention they got, there was nothing serious about them. It’s just that it is the fashionable thing to do to be hypersensitive about everything and to claim the high moral ground about minor things of no real significance.

    In addition to that, those things have nothing to do with the game. If you are giving everything when you go out on the pitch (and you are good enough too), and you show loyalty to the club, then the rest does not really matter.

    In this case there were doubts about that, so the decision was made. Of course, our coach right now used to be a RM player, and even scored when they beat us 5-0. But once he switched there were no questions about his commitment to the club. And he was good enough, which is the difference maker,

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