@Joey7Barton on England rugby – pot meets kettle or a genuine issue?

Barton not impressed with England rugby team

I agonised today on whether to write about Blackberry/RIM’s latest PR disaster or whether to have a pop at the antics of the England rugby team. I’ve discussed both subjects before, firstly with RIM’s disaster on the BBC  and then with regards rugby in general and #bloodgate

However, just when I thought I would plump for RIM following today’s outage update and apps compensation I heard a certain Joey Barton had given his opinion on the rugby. No contest now. Over to you Joey. (thanks to the excellent Football 365 for the content)

He was speaking at the Professional Players Federation national conference this afternoon and wasn’t going to pull any punches…

“If that was an England football team at a World Cup, there would probably have been public executions when they got home.

“‘Football’s a gentleman’s game played by thugs’, I hear quite a lot, and, ‘rugby’s a thug’s game played by gentlemen’.

“The minute a footballer steps out of line, I think the media in this country – because of the sums of money they earn and also because of the stigma attached – are really quick to jump on it.”

You know what, I think I agree with Mr Barton. I do think the rugby players get away with more than the footballers. Even cricket hero Freddie Flintoff’s pedalo incident seemed to be reported more as mere “japes” compared to what might have happened if that was Wayne Rooney or our old friend John Terry.

I predict that by the next rugby world cup (which is actually to be staged in this country) we will have seen countless more antics such as those of Tindall and co in the bar, ball swapping and before that, this shocking attack by current star player Manu Tuilagi on then star attraction Chris Ashton and his latest contribution to our international reputation after jumping off the ferry in Auckland.

After going on to question the issue of star footballers as role models, Barton was still ready to turn his ire on his fellow professionals, picking out John Terry and Ryan Giggs for criticism:

“The Giggs issue in any walk of life is not right, the behaviour of the man towards another man, towards his brother.

I’m not a particular fan of Barton in terms of the way he has led his life (although I do find his increasingly candid approach to the press refreshing -if a tad dangerous) but when someone like him is having a pop at the “gentleman’s game” then the RUFC really does have a problem.

What do you think? Hypocrisy from Barton or are the rugby lads getting away with it? If so, how long will this go on for?