Gonzo Sports Digest: Ryan Shawcross for England, Donald Trump hating and boxers with unconventional sex lives

If time was a currency I’d be in the poor house right now, come to think of it I could do with more cold hard currency as well so whatever I’m doing it isn’t profitable.

I’ve had no time to write my own stuff so instead here is a round-up of some of the best/most interesting articles I’ve seen lately.  We’ll start highbrow before the inevitable deterioration begins.

Ryan Shawcross

Ryan Shawcross has been consistently ignored by England manager Roy Hodgson and he isn’t expecting that to change any time soon.   The Stoke centre-half more than deserves another call-up but unfortunately he’s somehow managed to retain the unfashionable image the Potters had under Tony Pulis, while the rest of the squad are now considered masters in the total football or whatever implemented by Mark Hughes.  That might be a simplistic take on it but I think that’s a reasonably fair assessment.

Shawcross is a pretty quiet guy but he did give a very candid interview to The Telegraph recently and it is worth a read.  He discusses not only being ostracised from the England squad but also how he feels his career has been impacted by that infamous Aaron Ramsey leg-break a few years back.

Grizzlies tear into Donald Trump

Read that sub-header, now imagine actual bears ripping the nasty old bastard apart…. Feels good but sadly that isn’t the case here, just Matt Barnes of the Memphis Grizzlies has posted some anti-Trump stuff on Instagram.  Should sport stars talk about politics?  Why not…. if they’ve got the time to do so when they’re not romancing celebrities or endorsing trainers.

Here is a link to the story via Rolling Stone, for some reason the picture isn’t showing so I’ve used it as the main image for this article.  Comparing Trump to Hitler may not be the most groundbreaking move in the world, but it could see Barnes on the other side of that Mexican wall if that comb-over lunatic somehow manages to get in the White House.

Yusaf Mack and trans women

Being a boxer isn’t the easiest life, unless you’re at the very top of the pile and even then it isn’t necessarily a picnic, but throw in a niche sexual interest and what was previously tough becomes damn near impossible. West Philly native Yusaf Mack, who British fight fans may remember from his 2012 loss to Carl Froch, is into trans women. My own philosophy is essentially each to their own as long as no one’s getting hurt, not many subscribe to that viewpoint though.  Anyway here is an article about it via Broadly,  interesting stuff.

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Adam Johnson, Jail and Justice

On March 24 Adam Johnson will be sentenced after being found guilty of sexual activity with a child.  We’re being told he’s looking at four to 10 years.

Before we go any further I’d just like to point out this isn’t a sympathy or apologist piece but I do feel that kind of time inside seems disproportionate when compared with other cases.  

Should he go to prison?  Maybe or maybe not, that’s not for me to say. He should certainly be punished beyond having his career taken away, because that would happen to almost all of us in similar circumstances. However, I’m not sure all of us would have a potential 10 year stretch ahead of us had we been found guilty of similar crimes, actually I know for a fact we wouldn’t. Before sports writing I went to a few court cases as part of the press and it is amazing how many sex offenders come through.  One of the first hearings I ever saw was a man who had been caught masturbating in front of three young girls, and I mean under 10 but I can’t recall specific ages now.  He got a suspended sentence and was placed on the sex offenders register – I remember that detail because I was genuinely shocked, and it wasn’t his first time in the dock for similar offences either.

That was a while ago, longer than I care to remember, and times have changed. But still the time frame Johnson is looking at needs questioning.  Here’s why.

Recently a man by the name of James Smith, 32, has been jailed for three years for befriending single mothers in order to abuse their kids.  34-year-old Mark Caudery from Birmingham got three years for grooming a girl, 14, in a chat room and then meeting her for sex, the chat room was for people with depression and she’d lost her father.  I could go on and on with this, bringing up numerous examples but these two will suffice.  These are the kind of people I want jailed for a decade, maybe more, but nope – they’ll be out in maybe two years, while Adam Johnson will almost count himself lucky on March 24 if he gets four.

You may think four to 10 years isn’t enough for the disgraced 12-cap England international but if that’s the case then you’ll agree the likes of Smith and Caudery should be locked away for much longer.   Remember Jeremy Forrest, the teacher who had an affair with a pupil and took her to France? Apparently he ended up serving three-and-a-half years.  The media took an almost sympathetic view of him at times, but when you consider what he actually did it was a massive abuse of power and trust which culminated in what was essentially a kidnap (technically ‘abduction’, to-may-toe, to-ma-toe), regardless of how willing the victim was.  Johnson, meanwhile, has had a rougher ride.  Some newspapers have even clubbed him in with the likes of Levi Bellfield and Ian Huntley. Any rationally minded person should realise such a comparison is wholly unreasonable, both for the disgraced ex-footballer and for the victims of those infamous monsters.

And that’s what bothers me most; trial by media and Twitter.  As a person of note, Johnson’s case understandably drew a lot of attention and that undoubtedly has had a big impact on how much time he’s going to spend at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.  This doesn’t sit well with me; sentencing should be the same across the board regardless of where you’re from or what you’ve achieved.  Mitigating circumstances are all well and good but ‘they’re famous double the sentence’ or whatever is not what I’d call justice.  Perhaps four years right the way up to 10 for Johnson would be a fair sentence but if that’s the case others are getting off far too lightly. The law should treat everyone equally, maybe I’m just an idealist but there you go. I’m not trying to suggest he should avoid prison or even that he shouldn’t be jailed for a significant length of time, but by concentrating on the high-profile offenders, rather than the worst, justice is simply not being served.  When you break it down,  the taxpayer will fork out to keep him locked up for longer when others, with a potentially higher risk of re-offending, are serving shorter terms.

Needless to say he’s picked the worst moment in history to be a celebrity sex offender, the failure to get anything on Jimmy Savile has made sure of that.  If there is any lingering confusion, I’ll again point out this is in no way a defence of Johnson, quite clearly he’s a despicable human being.  His partner is pregnant with his child and he’s sneaking around with a teenager – abhorrent behaviour. But even the lower end of his impending prison sentence seems harsh, or at least unconventional, for what he’s done in strictly criminal terms; any moral issues have to be put to one side – being a cheat comes with no specific legal consequences outside of a divorce court.

*I found this pretty tough to write as I have no sympathy for Johnson as an individual, he’s committed a serious crime and must now accept the consequences. However, if he is handed a lengthy term and other, undeniably worse, offenders are being given what amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist the system is failing all of us and there are certain irregularities I felt needed highlighting that the mainstream press have ignored.

**Update: On further reflection I don’t really stand by this any more but have decided to leave it online anyway. 

Further reading;

‘Adam Johnson to be sentenced…’ via The Guardian.

James Smith via the Daily Record

Mark Caudery via ITV

Jeremy Forrest via The Mirror

Follow/abuse us on Twitter @GonzoSportsDesk, we’re not fancy we follow back.

Gonzo Sports Digest; weird news roundup

You spot some crazy shit when you trawl the internet every day looking for a good story, here is some of the best stuff I’ve seen this week.

The Nantes president can make your cock bigger

Nantes are going pretty well in Ligue 1, they may be down in eighth but a Champions League spot isn’t completely out of the question with just six points separating third placed Lyon from Bastia in 10th. Away from the pitch club president and cunning entrepreneur Waldemar Kita has embarked on a new venture – penoplasty.

From what I can gather via my admittedly rudimentary French and Google translate (which I never completely trust, the nuance of a language gets a little lost), a wrinkle cream he made his fortune from has another and potentially much more profitable use – it makes penises bigger and is also a treatment for premature ejaculation.  He also says he knows athletes who have tried it (which would be a hilarious way to fail a drugs test if any banned substance are present, I doubt it but there’s always hope) and the ‘Chinese are very eager’, whatever they mean by that.

So if your lap-hog is more of a piglet, maybe a trip to the Stade de la Beaujoire could be on the agenda before taking a lady back to the boudoir.

Original article (en Francais) via le JDD.

Angry woman hijacks Hartlepool United coach’s Twitter

Hartlepool United coach Sam Collins might want to have a word with Kita as the post ‘I also have a very small penis’ appeared on his Twitter account.

It wasn’t a case of oversharing though, instead it seems as if his wife got wind of an affair and decided to commandeer his Twitter. I’d imagine she probably regrets it now though, because airing your dirty laundry is never a good idea.

If you want to read about the ‘male slag’ (did it need the word ‘male’?) check out The Mirror’s article.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto gets his boots on ebay

One man who certainly isn’t a slag is former Spurs and current Saint-Etienne man Benoit Assou-Ekotto.  The French-born former Cameroon international won’t accept free sportswear or ‘prostitute’ himself to companies so he gets his boots on ebay.  Fair play to him, I’d be all over the freebies myself, although Joe Hart might have gone a bit too far with that horrendous shampoo advert – what the fuck was he thinking?

Assou-Ekotto’s Canal+ interview as reported by Goal.

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Arsene Wenger; a true Brit

Every so often the traditions and values of football in England get challenged.  Who do we turn to in these hours of need?  Nick Griffin? Nigel Farage? Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon-Bellend)?  Nope, thank Christ, we look to Arsene Wenger, a Frenchman who looks a bit like a raisin.

Back in 2005 such a notion was unthinkable, on February 14 of that year Wenger became the first manager to field an all foreign squad.  Chelsea beat him to the starting 11 but he was the man who named a whole match-day squad from foreign shores.  Wenger’s Arsenal are not, and never have been, a ‘traditional’ English side in terms of style but, somehow, he is the loudest voice when it comes to some of the core attributes of our domestic game.

The Winter Break

The idea of a winter break gets raised every season, usually by a manager new to the Premier League.  This time it was Jurgen Klopp who admitted he’d prefer a rest over the festive period, presumably so he could indulge in a gratuitous variety of sausages and the finest beers Germany has to offer without having to think about Daniel Sturridge’s injury woes.  In a somewhat strange twist of fate, it was a Frenchman who offered England’s strongest defence against Jerry on this occasion.

“You get that from everybody who comes to England at the start because you have to adapt to the English style. I was like that and I’m still in favour of a winter break – but without losing the traditions of English football. That is play over Christmas and maybe have a break in January.”

You tell him Arsene, we’re British and that means football on Boxing Day to help ease us out of our turkey comas.

FA Cup Replays

The idea of scrapping FA Cup replays has been floated out there of late.  I’m not a fan, neither is Wenger.

“This is the most traditional competition in England. Let’s respect it and keep it as it is.  I am convinced all of the clubs can compete with the number of games.”

This is an even more admirable stance when you consider the fact Arsenal would almost certainly benefit from the removal of replays.  Getting rid of them only helps the Premier League, clubs in the lower leagues would certainly suffer.  Wenger’s stance is supporting the little guys and underdogs – what could be more British?

There are other reasons why Wenger has become almost quintessentially English, if I may use that hoary old chestnut. For one thing Piers Morgan hates him and any enemy of that privileged, irrelevant gobshite masquerading as some kind of man of the people is a friend of mine.

But I’ll leave it there.  Wenger might get a lot of stick, largely from Arsenal’s own fans, but I guarantee we’ll all miss him in a way when he’s gone. Admittedly I wasn’t a fan originally, maybe even for the first 10 years or so (football aside, Wenger’s Gunners are generally fun to watch) but now it is nigh on impossible to imagine the Premier League without him.

Further reading

Wenger’s thoughts on the winter break via the Guardian.

FA Cup Replays via the BBC.

Follow/abuse us on Twitter @GonzoSportsDesk, we’re not fancy we follow back.