Anyone else feel a bit uncomfortable reading the Ledley King story? Obviously it's a big accusation which, if proved correct, will lead to serious charges and could mean real trouble for King. That's if it's all proved correct - and we haven't heard King's full side of the story yet, other than a muffled apology that he probably didn't even write himself.
A couple of things are a bit disturbing, though, in all this. First, that the bouncer involved should have gone to the papers - has he even put in a statement with the police yet? - and described it all. I mean, I don't blame him at all, we all need money to live. But how many other cases of violence are covered like this by the papers? Obviously, it's just because King is a celeb and therefore fair game. And yes, if he did behave how he's alleged to have behaved, then he's a complete arsehole and deserves everything he gets. Footballers have done plenty of stuff like this before, of course, having dust-ups with bouncers and so on.
But if you look back in the archives, you should see a note of caution in all this which means the King case isn't the open-and-shut story that the papers are making it out to be. There was a time when John Terry, now the Chelsea captain, and fellow players were accused of attacking bouncers, including with a bottle. We were told, by the press, there was CCTV footage that proved it all. But they were found not guilty by a jury. The bouncer had been accused in court of making up the story because of drugs debts, which turned out to be not true at all.
Look at this quote from that trial:
He added that Morris threatened to get him sacked, shouting: "Do you know how much I earn? I earn more in a day than you earn in a week. Do you know who we are? We could get you sacked." When he finally asked the players to depart, "they exploded with violence," he said.
And compare it with this from the King story:
The England ace – his shirt ripped open – was also filmed minutes earlier being restrained by doormen after he exploded in boozy violence.
The bouncer said: “He was saying, ‘Don’t you know who I am? ‘I’m on £80,000 a week and you’re on £10 an hour.’
I'm sure footballers do say these kind of things to bouncers. I'm sure a lot of them are complete arseholes. But the issue will be whether King said these exact things to this exact bouncer, and whom a jury will believe. King's not been charged with anything, which is why the papers are declaring open season and getting everything out in the open while they can.
But there's another aspect to this case which I find disturbing. Have a look at this front page from the Star:
Who, apart from the blind or terminally stupid, needs to be told that Ledley King is black? What does it add to the story? No-one would have said it if he were white, would they?
Also, there's this from our friends at the Mail:
See, it's not enough to say it's a race attack on an Asian person. The Mail thinks we need to see the word "Paki" really huge in a headline in order to understand what's going on. Although, as is increasingly the case, the headline for the story itself is a very much toned-down version and doesn't include all of that. I hesitate to imagine they're attempting search engine optimisation through the use of the word, but that could be it; whatever it is, it's pretty miserable for a national newspaper to be doing.