The fallout from Sadio Mane’s red card has been extremely disturbing. Gary Neville has once again lead a furious charge against the referee. Apparently he ruined the spectacle in upholding a law that exists to keep players as safe as possible. What has been most disturbing about the fallout is the lack of humanity with which the whole incident was dealt with.
The only person who spoke with any sort of sensitivity was Mane himself. His apology felt sincere, and the incident clearly affected him. In moments like this the colour of the card pails into insignificance.
The likes of G.Nev suggested that Mane had no choice but to go for the ball. This isn’t true. There are multiple occasions where players decide not to risk their opponents safety. Watch any Premier League game and I promise you there will be moments in which players decide not to go for a bouncing ball. Instead that player may jump to make it more difficult for the opponent make a clean connection with the ball.
If it’s fifty fifty or even sixty forty then there is a case for taking a risk. After all it is a competitive contact sport. But anyone who has played the game will know when the chance of doing serious damage is very likely.
The exception to this rule is Gary Cahill. The Chelsea defender launches himself at anything he has even the slightest chance of winning. This reckless behaviour resulted in Ryan Mason with a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain. His career is now in jeopardy.
If you watch Cahill play this isn’t surprising at all. He was an accident waiting to happen for a long time. I bet if opta pulled out stats on head collisions Cahill would be one of the worst offenders.
The likes of Rio Ferdinand prove that you can still be a winner without continually endangering the well-being of others. And for all his faults John Terry would only put himself at danger with some of his last ditch blocks.
This is why the debate around Mane’s red card has been so disturbing.
If the referee’s were to let that go then you’d be giving a green light to a behaviour that would inevitably result in a life changing injury for someone.
And scenes even more disturbing than an uconscious Ederson receiving oxygen on the pitch would surely spoil the spectacle more than watching someone get sent off.