Can John Terry recover from losing the England captaincy?
There's a reason why John Terry has had so few personal endorsement deals over the years.
Despite his high profile, tremendous success and on-field reputation as a battler who leads by example, the misgivings over his off-field persona have made sponsors reluctant to invest in him. He simply doesn't fit the image most sponsors want to promote.
Footballers want to do their talking on the pitch, to quote the cliché, and it is no wonder that so many of them struggle when thrust into such a public environment at an early age.
The days when players might join supporters in the pub after the game or wander around the local shops unhindered may be long gone.
For young players at top clubs, the wealth they accrue from early on is hugely disproportionate to that which their peers tend to earn, and showing off is an understandable temptation.
Being one of the best footballers in the country is an accolade most young kids dream about and few will to achieve. The fact that most players are sheltered from the media and cosseted these days means that they are ‘protected’ to such an extent that perception and reality rarely match.
Players don’t understand that they are role models not just living the dreams of millions, but representing their communities and nations as well.
However important or not John Terry considered it to behave as captain of Chelsea, he has a personal responsibility that goes beyond rousing his team-mates and inspiring his fans when wearing the armband as captain of England.
Terry is representing his country – he is the highest possible ambassador for English football and in truth, he has let his country down once too often.
Tales of womanising may not be new for the England captain, but on the back of revelations of family misdemeanours including drug dealing and shoplifting, threatening behaviour, gambling issues and betrayal of friends, his image has taken a serious battering.
When Terry had the first inkling that the press had discovered his off-field misdemeanours, he should have gone on a PR overdrive, taking positive steps to admit to what he had done, espress his remorse and be brave enough to realise that he had tarnished the England captaincy and therefore had to resign.
It has been said that Terry is not the sort who would ever resign, but that in itself underlines his weakness - the inability to realise that he is not beyond the laws and conventions or decency and respect.
Whatever happens now, his excellent performances as a defender will always be inextricably linked to his off-field behaviour.
The fact that a judge suggested that Terry’s pursuit of a gagging order against a national newspaper was as much about protecting his personal endorsements as anything else has hardly helped matters.
It was a red rag to the media bull, who doubled their efforts to make sure they exposed the true scale of Terry’s misdemeanours.
So what now?
Terry can publicly go for marriage counselling, endorse or support charities and spend more time giving something back to the community but it will do little to restore his personal reputation that will not be seen as cynical or superficial.
It is only when he makes personal sacrifices that he will claw back any respect from fans and the general public. It’s hard to say whether that respect really means anything to him anyway.
With the World Cup only a few months away, England need a united squad who fight for each other.
Sadly, Terry’s actions have undermined that necessary togetherness and resigning the captaincy, rather than waiting to have it taken away by strict disciplinarian coach Fabio Capello, would at least have shown that he had some sense of responsibility, however superficial that may have been.
Perhaps now Terry can reflect about the damage he has done to English football and his team and start getting his head down and focus on his on-field responsibilities.
Prevention is always better than cure but having a plan in place to deal with the sordid allegations rather than trying to stifle their publication may have been a better strategy for Terry and his 'advisors'.
Sadly for him, he is far better at protecting his goal than he is at protecting his own reputation as a leader and role model.