So as it happens, Tony Hayward of B(ig) P(ollution) fame was in our little neck of the woods this weekend, enjoying a gently breezy Round the Island Race, apparently thinking he’d get away with it or even hoping it’d go unnoticed under the radar… Leaving the chimneys of the Fawley petrochemical complex to starboard, maybe he got a warm and fuzzy feeling of gratitude for an industry that made him a rich man – unless someone from his office was already texting him to say his presence had been discovered, and his fun was already sp(oil)ed? Ah, what a merciless world, soon chanted the PR machine, the poor man has been under so much pressure recently and only wanted a few hours of peace, that was the first break he took for weeks bla bla bla. Hmm OK, but in that case Tony, why not just lock yourself up in the mansion with the wife and kids, switch off the phone, kill the TV and play Monopoly or something…
Surely, parading on a £500 000 yacht during one of Europe’s most famous regattas wasn’t the most clever thing to do, was it? Well in all honesty the estimated value of the boat isn’t that relevant, after all it’s only half of what Hayward is paid per year, so see, nothing outrageous here! Meanwhile on the other side of the world, other overpaid egomaniacs were making sure they ripped apart what was left of their threadbare sense of dignity, not even bothering to pretend to be interested by their job. Now, It would really be difficult for me to care less than I do about football, but I can’t help but see a sort of common denominator in the "Hayward / star players all behaving like spoilt brats" theme there was to that glorious sporting weekend. And if most of my English friends were appalled by their team’s conspicuous lack of passion, in all fairness the pitiful squad flying my country’s colours certainly deserve the highest medal in the "no shame whatsoever" category.
Refusing to train, insulting the coach, behaving like divas… all of this for a few millions a year, now that certainly put France on the map for the right reasons, eh? The sad part, obviously, is that given football’s worldwide popularity these players are role models for an awful lot of kids, for whom self esteem is now down to a figure and its associated currency. It must be okay to park one’s Bentley in a disabled slot to pop into Pizza Express, surely it’s fine for one’s temporary wife to visit the townships wearing the latest from Chanel, and there’s absolutely no law that states one should at least pretend to make efforts when on duty… Essentially, in Hayward’s case like in the football players’, there’s an obvious lack of connection with reality and no sense of the consequences of one’s acts. The adjective "irresponsible" springs to mind, but that’s what you get when absolutely everything, including moral standards, is for sale, right? For crying out loud, even strip club owners are suing BP now*, which goes to how how similar football teams and big corporations have become!
* read in the Daily Mail: "According to the Observer, owners of one strip joint – the Mimosa Dancing Girls club – have filed a compensation claim after local out of work fisherman who could no longer afford the pleasure stopped visiting the establishment."