So on Thursday, despite the entire nation seeing him blatantly dive to win a penalty against Arsenal at Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney insisted that he is an “honest player” who doesn’t deliberately try to deceive the referees to win penalties. A few days later, Rooney – this time in an England shirt – again tumbled to the ground unnecessarily, appealed to the referee and was awarded a penalty. Rooney certainly isn’t the saint he claims to be, mainly because of his own hypocrisy.
And this is what really rankles with me. While I despise players for diving in football, and I think it’s a dishonest and shameful thing to do, I fully understand why they do it. The gain from diving for a penalty is enormous, and the chances of pulling it off in today’s game are very high. It’s no surprise that players do it and we all know that it goes on. The blame for that lies with those who haven’t been forceful enough in stamping it out, but when Rooney makes such hypocritical claims, he makes himself look stupid.