Has Grealish controversy been blown out of all proportion?
“I was always told ‘Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent’”.
So said the late David Rocastle, an Arsenal icon who sadly died of cancer aged 33.
Rocastle came from a humble background and his words underline the respect and sense of responsibility the England midfielder had as a footballer.
Of course, today footballers are far more easily exposed for bad behaviour because of the advent of smartphones and social media.
You can’t open up a newspaper or click on a website without seeing one player or another doing something that they should be wise enough to avoid – or at least avoid being pictured doing it.
Jack Grealish, the highly-rated Aston Villa youngster, was this week snapped in Tenerife, having had a few drinks on holiday.
He is just a young man enjoying himself out of season and yet the photograph has caused uproar.
There are reports that his club will speak to him about his conduct upon his return and certainly more need to be done to advise sports men and women that they are always on duty.
The excellent Marina Hyde considers the episode to have been blown out of all proportion in The Guardian.
She asserts that despite the misguided expectations of fans, the players are entitled to time off in the close season and that is certainly the case. Players have fallen out of bars or got themselves in other scrapes for years, after all.
But we are in an age of wall-to-wall coverage now, one which is fuelled by massive television deals and sponsors who realise the value of reaching new audiences through access to clubs and players admired the world over.
A code of conduct, regular media training and social media training are vital for young players, flush with money, spare time and adoration to avoid some relatively harmless high-jinx turning into a public relations disaster.