Players are seen to be setting a bad example when they are out drinking, partying at clubs or simply having harmless fun. In many cases, footballers, and on a broader scale celebrities, are not allowed to be themselves, or rather they are not allowed to be human.
Just this week a video of an intoxicated Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune went viral on social media, sparking a lot of debate about how players should live their lives. There were those who criticised him for being under the influence of alcohol, while others were on his side, asking why sports stars can’t also have fun, like those who work in different industries.
Sportsmen and women are meant to live healthy lives, it goes without saying, but having fun off the pitch responsibility and in a way that won’t affect the way you train and play on match day should be allowed. Khune, for example, has been one of the most consistent players in the PSL for over 10 years, playing for both his club and the senior national team Bafana Bafana.
SuperSport United defender Morgan Gould, a former teammate of Khune at Chiefs, has given his thoughts on the matter. On Tuesday Gould posted a picture of himself having a drink and he feels there were already people who were judging him for that.
Gould is a player who enjoys spending time with friends and having a drink here and there, but this has never affected him at work. He goes to training and is ready to deliver on match day.
While there are players who have let alcohol destroy their careers, there are those who just want to let their hair down with a drink after a game or those who want to go to a club and down a few cold ones, which should not be considered a problem.
“Firstly it goes to the mentality of the supporters. Supporters are the backbone of this industry. We appreciate and acknowledge that they want us to live clean, straightforward lives. If you look at the rugby guys and how they live, they protect one another. You’d never see two or three articles of rugby players doing bad. I know they do bad. I’ve got rugby friends and I’ve got cricket friends. They do everything that we do," Gould tells KickOff.com.
“They are sports people at the end of the day, but they protect themselves so well that it is not put out in the media. They make it a point that they do not shame one another. They stand together, so I think it’s a mindset change that we need to go through.
“I posted a picture of myself [on Instagram] having a Heineken and already I could say some idiot out there was saying to me ‘I hope you are also not going to say you are going to buy out the bar’. I mean people are just having fun, it’s not harming anybody. My former teammate [Khune] was just having a joke and a laugh and someone happened to capture that part, not knowing the gist of the story. I hope it changes.
“Look at the rugby guys. Immediately after the game they go out and have a drink and whatever. Monday morning they are there at training. People are being hard on us [black people]. For me it’s black-on-black violence and we need to stop that. Let’s love and support one another. If you feel that I am doing bad, then advise me. Don’t trash me. If you trash me you are not helping me. The next thing I am going to hate you.”