For some reason some people seemed to think that by stating that Shawcross' tackle wasn't that bad in the grand scheme of things, it must also mean that I think the media covered things perfectly and that Shawcross was the victim in all this, nothing could be further from the truth. Irrelevant of whether Ryan Shawcross cuts the lawn for his mother, it was a bad tackle and it deserved a red card, I was just saying that we see much worse tackles every week that don't break bones, Nani's recent shocker at Villa as being just one example.
The media coverage has been mixed. The portrayal of Shawcross as the poor victim, just as Martin Taylor was with his Eduardo assault, has been nothing but completely partisan, while the talk of 'he's not that kind of player' is complete rot, anyone who has his track record has made himself that kind of player by definition. The media deserve a lot of criticism for their completely inconsistent approach to violence on the football field, just remember their mass over reaction to Gallas on Davies, I can't remember anyone portraying Gallas as the victim or saying 'he's not that kind of mother loving laddie'. This excellent Guardian piece shows how good the coverage can be though.
The media, the referees and the FA do not deal with reckless and violent play on the football field in a consistent manner and this goes a long way to explaining why things are such a mess. Undoubtedly we have been on the end of a fair bit of rouging up in recent years, but we have not been the only ones, there's no doubt that the environment in England still allows for an over aggressive approach to flourish.
Things have definitely got better in some ways in recent years, for example the jump tackle is punished much more severely that it ever used to be, dangerous play is being taken more seriously. Some things have been completely forgotten, whatever happened to punishing the tackle from behind and why is so much shirt tugging allowed to go unpunished? One problem is that referees often lack a real understanding of the game, they have never played it, they have great difficulty in telling the honest from the cynical, thus clamping down on things does not always have the predicted positive effect in stamping out the dangerous and cynical. The likes of Shawcross and Cattermole are allowed to tackle dangerously without appropriate punishment, at the same time cards are given out for tame offences.
We need better refereeing, however they need to be supported by a governing body that actually takes violence seriously. We need to see the FA step in and extend bans for really dangerous play, we need to see retrospective bans for things that referees miss handed out consistently and routinely, we need video technology introduced in a way that can help referees to stamp out the violence in our game, we need the FA to clamp down on any managers who attempt to intimidate officials before matches, we need so much more.
Until this is done then we will continue to see inconsistent law enforcement from our officials, haphazard disciplinary processes from the governing bodies and more needless broken bones. All of this would be catalysed by a more objective and less biased media that didn't treat foreign players differently to domestic idols, everyone should have their bones respected equally, the less shins that get smashed like Aaron's the better and who can argue with that?