Perception is a strange thing. Take two youngish men, both of whom have, let’s say, taken advantage of their status and the attraction it brings and had affairs. So far, so normal. One of the men had an affair with a friend’s ex – girlfriend, breaking the unwritten – but well known – rule of never getting together with a mate’s girl, ex or current. The other man slept with his brother’s wife.
For those who do not know, whether it is because of not following the UK’s dominant sport – football – or because UK news does not affect you, the fact that this story is about two prominent sportsman will be of little surprise. What is a little strange is that the reputation of the sportsman who slept with his brother’s wife is less tarnished than the other.
John Terry has the reputation of being a bit of an oik. A man of true working class roots, with a face that is to an Adonis what brick is to marble, Mr Terry, an uncompromising, but highly accomplished defender, does not project the air of a cuddly fella. A one club player, Terry has been a stalwart of Chelsea football club since before vast riches made them a force in world football. He more than any other player, represents the nouveau riche, cash-without-class, we’re-rich-and-we-don’t-care, attitude that irked so many opposition fans, made jealous or envious of the club’s sudden wealth.
Being the captain of such a club pushed Terry more into the limelight. So when the papers found out the married Terry was sleeping with a former teammate’s ex – girlfriend, they could not wait to break the story. How could he sleep with his friend’s girlfriend?! What would happen, now that they played for different teams, when they met? What about his wife? John Terry did not get an easy ride.
Ryan Giggs slept with his brother’s wife. Maybe they are not very close as siblings, maybe he was sick of lending him money, maybe she was an unrequited love. Maybe. He slept with his brother’s wife.
The Manchester United former winger was a player of some talent. Fleet of foot, beautifully balanced, a footballing brain and given to – though I would argue too infrequent – moments of brilliance. He was the sort of player people paid to see and he played for one of the most famous teams on the planet.
A good looking, urbanite, Giggs has enjoyed sporting success, a, relatively, blemish free reputation and personal acclaim. Even after failing to keep knowledge of his indiscretion suppressed – he tried to have the story legally squashed – he is still held in high regard in sporting circles.
John Terry is no paragon of virtue. His reputation outside of football is subject too many negative rumours; greed, gambling, racism. Ryan Giggs, currently enjoying life as assistant manager of Manchester United, slept with his brother’s wife.