Frank Lampard To Mike Riley: I Forgive You

February 5, 2009

by Steven Ho…

Amid all of the controversy surrounding his red card, I must say I was struck by how well Frank Lampard dealt with the whole situation.

Consider the circumstances: Sunday’s away match against Liverpool was Chelsea’s biggest game of the season so far. On the hour, with the scores blank, referee Mike Riley decides to send him off for what was a completely fair challenge. Liverpool ends up winning 2-0 and has arguably put Chelsea out of the title race.

I’m wiling to venture that 90 percent or more of today’s “professional” players would’ve gone berserk at the referee if they were on the short end of that decision.

Instead, Lampard just walked off the pitch; albeit in a state of shock, but at least he didn’t aggravate the situation further or intimidate the referee.

Today, after it was announced that his red card had been rescinded (meaning he will be available for Chelsea’s next three games), his reaction was equally admirable. He is honest yet respectful of Mike Riley and indeed referees on the whole.

“I presumed it would be rescinded anyway,” Lampard told BBC Radio Five Live. “It was obviously a mistake.”

“We all make mistakes—footballers make mistakes. I don’t want to have a dig at referees because they do a very hard job and I respect them.”

He’s clearly a bigger man than I am. I probably would’ve gone at least a little berserk like 90 percent of players would.

Considering the probable implications of the decision, in respect to the outcome of the league, I’d argue that if he’d berated the referee he would’ve been justified.

But he didn’t. Which is why Frank Lampard is an outstanding example of a professional footballer and someone I admire greatly.

Isn’t it great when great players also turn out to be great men?