Well, we knew this was coming, didn’t we?

The movie Glory, an Edward Zwick film about the 54th Massachusetts African American regiment in the Civil War (and one of the best war movies of all time—you’re welcome), features a scene in which some soldiers from the 54th get in a row with some white Union soldiers. Some epithets are traded and a fight ensues. At that moment, their white Major Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes) breaks it up and threatens to bring up charges against the white soldiers. The black Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) implores him not to. “It’s a just a soldier’s fight,” he explains.

It’s a remarkable scene, particularly as the first third of the movie hammers home the importance, harshness, and frequency of military discipline. Rawlins appeal however is instantly understood by all involved, and the matter is dropped, and both sets of soldiers calm down and move along. Later, Rawlins and others encounter the soldier involved in the fight, who cheers them on in an epic charge on a Confederate fort.

Somethings there are clear injustices that require action and resolution, and sometimes there are unfortunate things that happen. Some are part of a larger change of wrong; others are atomized incidents of poor judgment with little long-lasting effect (this being Friday, tomorrow many of you will know what I mean).

I’m not an all-seeing judge, but I do side with the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor on his view of the Ball Boy Affair, made public shortly after the Capital One semi, in which he hoped in vain for the FA to let this one lie. “It was about a silly footballer and a silly boy,” Taylor wrote, “both of whom are probably old enough to have known a little bit better.” The FA however has decided it wants to pursue a punishment in excess of the three match ban, which all-but ensures this nothing of a story will stay with us for at least the next several weeks.

Of course the FA could not simply let this one sit; not for anything having to do with football, a game played at an impossible tempo by angry young athletes, but rather the public perception of inaction. The FA might ostensibly justify their pursuit of Hazard as a means to ensure footballers don’t abuse sideline staff, but it’s not even clear Hazard meant any malicious harm. He simply wanted the ball back and took a very stupid risk to get it back a little faster in the heat of the moment in a Cup semifinal that Chelsea were losing.

All that would have been required here was a fine, a stern warning, a public apology, and a clear statement by the FA on the deportment of touchline staff during football matches. Instead, the Football Justice Circus has pitched up tents, yet again.

Comments (18)

  1. A warning for an assault on a kid? Why not just charge the kid with theft for not letting go of the ball and give Hazard a medal of bravery for intervening. FREE HAZARD!

    • If you watch the clip ,, you see Hazard making the kicking motion like he is kicking the kid ,, but he is simply trying to get the ball out .. That kid needs to be banned from all football events!!! I can`t believe they are making an example out of him .. That little prick ball boys face just says kick me ffs!!! The FA is a fucking joke!!!

  2. this is purely bs the FA are always after chelsea its plain as day what the kid was doing in a tense situation i would have done the same thing that hazard did. KTBFFH

  3. It’s great you’re promoting Glory, but that’s all-star hypobolic analogy you’re making…

  4. I agree with you, Richard. The world would be a better place if everyone could just kick kids when they’re doing slowing us down from doing important things. Also, we should use the American military as a shining example of moral correctness.

    • Oh Please. If we are going to be totally ridiculous with our faux moral outrage on this situation let me take the other side.

      1. This ball boy is in the employ of Swansea football club. Not only that, but he is the son of the director of the team (or some team executive).
      2. He stated on his Twitter account ahead of the game that he planned on wasting time for Swansea if needed.
      3. The ball boy then did indeed waste time for Swansea.

      What this amounts to is an employee of Swansea and a family member of a person with a management position in the club, deliberately and pre-meditatively illegall interfering in the outcome of the game to Swansea’s benefit.

      And Hazard and Chelsea are the one’s getting in trouble?

      Where’s the FA’s investigation into collusion at Swansea to unfairly interfere in this game? Are there any connections to betting? Corruption charges to be investigated. At the least Swansea should be kicked out of the Carling Cup for this.

      • Actually, most of the informed commenters will rightly concede that the kid acted like a homer twat. Most of the comments opposing Hazard’s actions start with some sort of caveat that the kid was in the wrong, BUT…

        The kid was wrong and will never be a ball boy again. But his actions don’t excuse what Hazard did. The referee is empowered to asseess delays in the game, and to add time at the end as he deems appropriate. Hazard should have just got the fuck out of there. If he hadn’t engaged the kid 3 seconds after the ball rolls out of play, the kid wouldn’t have had case to fall on the ball (or be pushed onto it, depending on your perspective). Even at that point, Hazard could have walked away with a WTF-look to the ref. Instead he kicks the ball/ball-boy. Seriously, how fucking stupid is he?

        Again, the kid was wrong to do what he did. Almost everyone (except maybe the most biased Swan fan) would admit that. But there are mechanisms in place that were perfectly capable of nullifying his impact on the game. By acting like an even bigger moron, Hazard (rightly) elevated the event to a much higher level, and in doing so he tied the FA’s hands. Really, what the hell do people expect them to do? If someone would normally get a three game ban for kicking out at another player that just levelled them with a crushing tackle, of course he is getting a ban.

        • Besides, it was a Swansea goal kick. If Chelsea were going to get a corner, it might have excused what Hazard was doing. He should have just got back on defense.

  5. The kid should be fired. Hands down. 17 is a little old to be a ball boy anyone.

    As for Eden, I don’t care what he was trying to do, he made contact with the kid. 3 matches is fine with me. You do nothing, you set a very bad example and you can’t have that kind of behavior. What if a fan deserved it? I know I do half the time. Is it ok to punch them?

    Also, Matthew Broderick ruined Glory.

  6. The red card, and ensuing ban would be sufficient. This is just another example of an organization trying too look like a bunch of heroic do-gooders to prevent any bad PR.

    That kid should be banned for interfering. He’s old enough to know he was being a twat.

  7. I think “NAM” kinda nailed this one.

    If you want to argue that the Swansea ball boy and the club should be brought up for punishment, fine. You’re probably right. But pointing out that argument doesn’t address or excuse, the role Hazard played.

    Arguing whether or not the ball or the boy were struck is a fool’s argument. Hazard was stupid. You take a swing at another player, it doesn’t matter if you were provoked or if you made contact, you’re going off for violent conduct. Nobody would dispute that. Same here.

    On top of that, if you are lashing out at non-participants in the match, you’ve crossed another line that the FA does not appreciate. Another episode that can be described as stupid.

    Regardless of how this all plays out, Hazard has himself to blame. he’s the one who failed to recognize the situation for what it was. He’s he one who chose just about the worst of possible responses, and now he’s the one at the mercy of the “could get you months, could get you nothing, there’s no rhyme or reason to how we mete out punishment” FA.

    Good luck with that, Eden.


  8. Having watched the replay again- I’ve got to say- what an embarrasment Hazard is! He calls that a kick! If Cantona had’ve kicked that kid he would’ve stayed kicked. LONG LIVE THE KING!!

  9. did this guy (not a kid) post something on Twitter before the game about doing something to try and waste time?

    • Yep. It’s the only reason people are defending Hazard. Unless it’s because he’s the only ballboy/player/coach/fan that’s ever taken their time getting the ball back in.
      We all really owe the stupid kid- it wouldn’t be such a good story without that tweet.

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