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Media role in Rice affair needs scrutiny

Declan Rice’s admission that he received ‘threats’ from keyboard warriors after switching his international allegiance from The Republic of Ireland to England is a bigger issue than may at first appear.

And it brings into question in a big way for me the media’s role in football generally and in this case in particular.

Ok, I understand that such a critical decision from a very fine player was going to create extreme reactions from both sets of fans who either suffered or benefited from its outcome.

And there is no question at all that if the question of whether such switches should be allowable in the future is now a matter to be decided immediately rather than become the subject for more and more endless discussion by the authorities.

But it’s the media and their desire to use pundit after pundit to slam a teenager (at the time) as he tries to make the most difficult decision of his life that made me sick.

Nineteen years old is not the normal time in anyone’s life and to have a whole series of ex pros dissing you big time. For it to have gone on day after day and no doubt for MONEY because their views rarely come free is irresponsible.

Among those jumping on the bandwagon were James McLean, Kevin Kilbane, Gary Neville and Mickey Quinn (remember him).

Talk about an easy hit on a soft target.

As a former member of the mainstream press I and most journos know just how easy it is to criticise rather than praise or to get hold of a ‘rent a gob’ who will do the job for you.

But in an age when social media is a dangerous bullying tool, should people wish to use it as such, there’s surely an added responsibility on the media to tighten the reins on what is and isn’t allowable.

Personally I am not sure I hold a view on his decision. It was entirely his and that he battled for so long with his own thoughts and family’s split affections before coming to it is entirely his affair.

But the media hasn’t helped one little bit and for Neville to be raising it again in front of an Irish audience  over the last few days is really out of order.

The question needs to be addressed again and very quickly toensure no other youngsters have to decide such a key issue and open themselves up to abuse which had even Gareth Southgate worrying would make itself heard from the terraces.



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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

6 comments on “Media role in Rice affair needs scrutiny

  1. Who paid Gary Neville to re-open a subject which had to all intents and purposes been put to bed . Rice never played a Internationally recognized competitive game for Ireland with a trophy at stake . They were all friendlies . He was born in England ( London, in fact ) and that makes him Full on English under the Law of the Land . His ancestry allowed him to play for Ireland . But being in actual fact English he is 100% entitled to represent his country of birth . He had a difficult and brave decision to make and made it . So just leave him alone .
    The main problem here is in fact that a player can play for a country outside his / her country of birth through the system of ancestry ,,, it’s that fact that needs scrutiny and not the other way round .
    COYHammers , England and Rice .

    • On another note……
      I see the press have nothing to write about and have now suggested Rice will be the subject of a £90 million bid!
      Why just as we get starting on a great start to the season do these morons come in and unsettle players?

  2. The sooner FIFA act the better for everyone. Rice was born in Surrey. That makes his nationality English. This nonsense of choosing a nationality because of parents or grandparents birthplace has to stop. You should only be available to play for the country of your birth. Yes it will hurt countries like the RoI but, by the same token, it may focus attention to developing their domestic game and talent.

  3. These so called centre of influence in the media, especially those who are partisan in defending former clubs have a tendency to barrack and harass anyone who presents a challenge to the status quo. It sickens me to see former players showing little, or no empathy for the younger generation coming through and making their way in life! Lay off the lad FFS.

  4. You’re spot on about this they make me sick too they all lead these perfect lives dont they. What these morons dont realise is it’s the rule that needs scrutiny- and perhaps – criticism NOT rice! Can you imagine how difficult it must be at 19 to make that decision and let’s face it it’s not exactly stupid is it but the lawmakers get away Scotfree. Dec is better than these idiots and he will remember in life who his friends are. I mean I bet hes devastated Neville is no longer englands defensive coach. Red socialist Neville is like Corbyn – moans and criticises everyone else but does absolutely zero to help anyone or anything

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