Rio Ferdinand has been shagging, do we have the ‘right to know’?

Now I am not one to defend massively overpaid footballers dripping in watches and money, living life like ball kicking pharaohs in the middle of the worst recession of our lives. Of course everyone should get paid but there is an arrogance of wealth when it is surrounded by poverty and it’s making distinctly uncomfortable viewing. From Tevez sitting on his very expensive arse refusing to play whilst picking up stupid money to alleged sex crimes from another unamed professional, sport is full of Lads magazine guffawing style behaviour.

I am also not one to defend their lifestyles, there is a fringe of footballers who behave worse than rock stars, or even worse than some politicians. There’s plenty of sex on offer and taken. For me that’s their business and if they are married it’s between them and their wives and their consciousness. And if they are single then consenting sex with one or more partners of whatever sex they choose is their business as long as it does not affect the way they play. Snorting cocaine and driving those ludicrous looking, far too expensive sports cars too fast is, of course, another matter.

What I don’t understand is this tabloid obsession, this we have the right to know, or it’s somehow in the public interest if Rio Ferdinand has been caught with very his very expensive pants round his ankles. In your heart of hearts do you really care? It’s like gossip gone crazy. People say that footballers are role models and in some respects they are but is the way they live their lives off the pitch anybody’s business? They don’t set themselves up as role models, they are not religious or political figures who are telling us how to live. If you are taking moral tips from a footballer as a society you are in deep, deep trouble.

What Ferdinand did was not right, clever, honourable, nice or cool but once you have printed it all over the tabloids then maybe it’s you who have spread the word about this kind of lifestyle.

I want the right to know why the bankers have screwed up our society, or why we are stuck in loads of wars or why the politicians are doing what they do and so what if Ferdinand was the England captain? I don’t give a fuck about leering over who he is shagging. Of course nothing should be ring fenced by lawyers and the polishing of image is not right, along with photo touching images and PR fluff the world is full of bullshit, but who a Footballer is shagging is distracting up from the real stuff, the stuff that we really need the RIGHT TO KNOW.

I retain the right to not care.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Spot on John. These stories are just a distraction from the class war that is being waged on behalf of big business and the banks to keep the working class in their place.

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