Comments about Guirane N'Daw's arrest
21 March ~ Ipswich only named six substitutes for their 1-0 home win over Bolton last Saturday. Midfielder Guirane N'Daw, on a season-long loan from Saint-Étienne and a virtual ever-present under Mick McCarthy, was unexpectedly absent. "He wasn't available for personal reasons," McCarthy said. "I don't know why. I'll find out." A few hours later it emerged that N'Daw was detained in a police cell, having been arrested on suspicion of assault the previous day following an alleged domestic incident. He was subsequently charged and released on bail.
The club sensibly announced that they wouldn't be making any further comment while the investigation was ongoing but Town striker Michael Chopra didn't get that memo. He took to his Facebook page to complain about people "having a go" at players such as N'Daw, himself and striker Paul Taylor (an Ipswich striker facing GBH charges). "We're all human," Chopra said. "It's the first thing [N'Daw's] done wrong, and people calling for him to be sacked, find it bizarre as he's been one of our better players."
An odd post, not least because N'Daw hasn't been convicted of anything – a point that would surely have been more relevant. But it's not the first time Chopra has caused a stir on social media; earlier this year he briefly quit Twitter after defending himself against critics by posting a picture of a bag full of money. Whatever the provocation may have been – his Ipswich career has been disrupted by gambling problems which had led him to need a £250,000 loan from the club – it wasn't the smartest move.
In any profession there will be people who say or do ill-advised things in public. Social media shines a different spotlight on it but idiocy is idiocy whether it takes place in a pub or online. Conversely, it was the same weekend that young defender Tyrone Mings gained deserved plaudits for providing tickets for a fan who'd mentioned on Twitter that he couldn't afford to go to the game.
Chopra's Ipswich career has been beset by a catalogue of personal issues and who clearly needs continued support in dealing with those. The more concerning aspect of his Facebook post is its juxtaposition of the alleged offences with factors such as "he's been one of our better players this season", as though a decent run of form gives scope for a broad and extraordinary range of allowable weaknesses. It is a strange set of priorities and one that raises questions about some attitudes within the game.
One group of Town fans has already written to the club to ask if players in the academy are given any education or training on issues such as relationship boundaries. Football, like any other industry, has a wide circle of people within it, the majority of whom act responsibly in their professional and personal lives. However, there have been a sufficient number of incidents involving footballers to raise concerns about whether there are some whose enclosure in the bubble of their professional community has damaged their moral compass. If social media helps to highlight those instances, then perhaps it can also be part of the solution. Gavin Barber, Turnstile Blues