Was It a Penalty? Contact Or No Contact, Rooney Dived.... So No

Steven HoAnalyst IAugust 31, 2009


No calls for a ban, no cries of 'dive', not even a whisper of 'cheat.'

Quite predictably, none of the English media have been brave enough or honest enough to condemn Wayne Rooney for diving to win a penalty against Arsenal over the weekend.

The past week has been dominated by articles criticizing Arsenal's Eduardo for diving against Celtic, but compared to Eduardo’s dive Rooney's scenario was almost identical.

So why hasn't the response from the media—who singled out Eduardo, labeled him as a 'cheat', and called for him to be banned—been identical too? Especially considering the fact that Rooney's incident was far more important to the outcome of his game than Eduardo's was. 

Most of them seem to be saying that Rooney's case is different to Eduardo's, because "there was contact" between Rooney and Almunia.

Apply just a tiny bit of basic common sense, though, and it becomes overwhelmingly clear that "there was contact" is an over-simplistic, erroneous excuse that dives falls flat on it's face.

Surely the crucial question is not whether there was any contact between Rooney and Almunia, but whether the contact between them was what caused Rooney to fall.

In other words, was Almunia responsible for Rooney falling down?

One look at the replays, however, proves that Almunia's contact with Rooney was NOT what caused Rooney to fall to the ground. Rooney, having obviously seen the keeper rushing towards him, started to fall BEFORE he had even made contact with Almunia.

Almunia didn't bring Rooney down. Rooney fell down himself. 

Actually, it's arguable that Rooney made contact with Almunia—by falling into him—rather than the other way around. Either way, there was no foul on Almunia's part, and therefore it shouldn't have been a penalty.

Moreover, since Rooney deliberately forged "contact" (if Almunia had pulled out like Celtic's keeper Artur Boruc did, the replays would've shown Rooney throwing himself to the ground, exactly like Eduardo did!) i.e dived, by UEFA's recent standard in the Eduardo case he should also receive a two match ban. 

But, unlike Eduardo, Rooney is a media darling and doesn't fit their much promoted stereotype of Johnny dirty-cheat Foreigner. So it should be no surprise really that we haven't seen any media pressure to punish Rooney with a two match ban, and probably shouldn't expect to see in the next week any sort of criticism of Rooney at all.

Not even a whisper.