A funny thing might happen it might lead to Respect.
The FA's campaign is back in the public eye thanks to Sportsmail spotlighting player behaviour. Generally, apart from a few incidents highlighted on this page, it was better this weekend. Except for Rooney, that is, forcing his way into our living rooms at lunchtime with an? F-word tirade of aggression and abuse, like a two-fingered gesture of resistance from one of the Barclays Premier League's poster boys.?
From now until the Champions Leaguefinal at Wembley, every second counts. The fury, aggression andintensity will rise with each game. Dealing appropriately with Rooney'smisconduct will let everyone know they will be punished with a bigstick, rather than a feather duster.
Out of order: The FA will investigate Wayne Rooney's foulmouthed rant
It is the duty of players to remain in control and to acknowledge theirresponsibilities. Where was Rooney's control at Upton Park? And hisdisplay of fury was not a reaction to a poor decision ManchesterUnited's? discipline when dealing with both West Ham penalties wascommendable and refreshing it was his reaction to the joy of scoringa hat-trick! What was there to be angry about?
I have a friend who sat and watched West Ham versus Manchester Unitedin his living room with his six-year-old son, who asked: 'Daddy, whyhas Wayne Rooney just said 'f***'? It was not what he expected atlunchtime on Saturday. Why should we? tolerate such an invasion and onethat is likely to come without any punishment?
??More from Graham Poll...?Graham Poll: Show some Respect... this abuse of referees must end now31/03/11?Graham Poll: Perhaps Rooney was already in holiday mode in Cardiff...28/03/11?Graham Poll: Call that a ban? Sir Alex Ferguson still able to have his say21/03/11?Graham Poll's official line: Player pressure led to penalty error20/03/11?Graham Poll: FA come down hard on Fergie over rants... and it's about time17/03/11?Graham Poll: Judgement day approaches for Wenger and Ferguson as they face up to cost of blowing a fuse14/03/11?Graham Poll: Referees must be protected from half-time interference13/03/11?Graham Poll: Busacca got it wrong - Van Persie's red card was far too harsh09/03/11?VIEW FULL ARCHIVE?Players, we know, are overpaid andoverprotected. Despite much of their behaviour, they are idolised andmimicked by schoolboys all over the country.
Not that the television companies covered themselves in glory, either. Sky apologised quickly, but their post-match interviewer, Geoff Shreeves, failed to ask Rooney or Sir Alex Ferguson to explain the outburst. We had to wait for a Rooney statement through United for an apology later. But shouldn't Sky be asking these questions, especially when they broadcast the language in the first place?
Then, bizarrely, Match of the Day repeated the offensive footage, although it was thankfully removed from their Sunday morning repeat when many junior footballers tune in before their Sunday games. Alan Shearer dismissed Rooney's behaviour. 'It's done, let's move on.' It's a good job he is not a High Court judge.
It didn't make particularly pleasant viewing on Sky Sports News throughout Mother's Day, either, although at least they covered up his mouth. Anyone watching live (and let's not forget the highly marketable Premier League is shown in more than 200 countries) had no such escape.
I know Rooney has a foul mouth trust me, I got plenty of it from him. I failed to dismiss him when misguidedly trying to empathise with the pressure young footballers have to contend with, as professional referees are encouraged to do. As I have written before in these pages, I wish I had acted differently.
STAMP IT OUT!Follow Sportsmail's Stamp It Out camaign on Twitter @DMstampitout
Rooney's behaviour on Saturday was a red card offence, if spotted by the referee. That would bring about a three-match ban, so the same length of punishment would be the correct decision by the FA. Law 12, fouls and misconduct, covers this and item 6 in the sending-off offences reads: 'A player is sent off and shown the red card if he uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.'
Rooney was offensive, insulting and abusive!
Football is a game where passions run high, but when a player seeks out a camera to ensure that his foul language can be seen and heard, action must follow.
The FA will probably write to him to remind him of his responsibilities. The foul language and abuse will continue and another opportunity will be missed. Where is the Respect there?
?Rooney's statement: 'I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration, especially to any parents or children that were watching. Emotions were running high and on reflection my heat-of-the-moment reaction was inappropriate. It was not aimed at anyone in particular.'
After the incident, Sky commentator Rob Hawthorne said: 'Apologies if you heard anything that you were not supposed to hear in the aftermath of that goal from Wayne Rooney.'
Rio Ferdinand tweeted: 'papers + radio, give wayne a break he knows what he did was wrong and he has apologised, spoke 2 him today + genuinely sorry. Are stadiums 'no swearing' zones!'
After the incident was shown again on Saturday's Match of the Day, a BBC spokesperson said: 'MotD's purpose is to cover the key talking points of the day. The biggest story was the Rooney incident. We felt it right to show the full extent of the incident, give reaction and Rooney's apology. The show is aired well after the watershed, however the footage was removed from the Sunday morning repeat.'
?GRAHAM POLL'S BAD BOYS
West Ham players who surrounded referee Lee Mason after he awarded Manchester United a penalty after the ball struck Matthew Upson's arm. The accuracy or otherwise of the decision must not justify this type of mass protest.Arsenal players who demanded that Phil Dowd dismiss Steven Nzonzi; it was a clear red-card tackle, which Dowd got absolutely correct. We just didn't need to see that player pressure.Everton's Phil Jagielka, who drew contact from Jean Makoun and then fell dramatically to gain his team a penalty from which they equalised.Liverpool's Pepe Reina was incensed at the absolutely clear and correct decision to award West Bromwich a penalty after he had brought down Peter Odemwingie. Again, accuracy of the decision should not matter, but when the foul is as clear as this was, any complaint is just embarrassing. Bolton manager Owen Coyle confronted young referee Michael Oliver at the final whistle after the 2-1 defeat at Birmingham.? Such scenes must be stopped and managers should respect the regulation not to speak to match officials until 30 minutes after the final whistle, and then keep it civilised in the privacy of the referees' changing room. Surrounded: Referee Lee Mason is bombarded by players from both Manchester United and West Ham
?Graham Poll: Show some Respect... this abuse of referees must end nowPatrick Collins: Rooney's foulmouthed tirade makes an instant mockery of new Respect campaignRooney's disgrace: A 15 minute hat-trick but then United star's four-letter rant ruins it allWhich Premier League clubs respected refs... and who didn't?
?Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Matthew Upson, Pepe Reina, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jagielka, Steven Nzonzi, Owen Coyle, Alan Shearer Places: Birmingham, Liverpool Organisations: Football Association
Source: Daily Mail