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Arsenal race storm highlights problems within football

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Talented 18-year-old Arsenal youngster Jack Jebb has been banned for four matches by the FA for using racist language, but the England youth international is not the only Arsenal player making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Jack Wilshere was pictured this week with a cigarette in his mouth, although he has been quick to deny that he is a smoker, nonetheless the damage has been done and the England midfielder has come in for criticism from supporters and also his manager Arsene Wenger. 

Football has always attracted players who have great talent with their feet, but arguably lack intelligence and common decency.

For instance, Marlon King has a string of criminal offences to his name, some of which are extremely serious, but after a spell in prison he was signed by Coventry City.

Lee Hughes was imprisoned for causing death by dangerous driving and later found guilty of assault in 2012. Following his release from prison, he was snapped up by Oldham Athletic. 

Another striker on the wrong side of the law this week is Sheffield Wednesday's Gary Madine. The 23-year-old was sentenced to 18 months behind bars for assaulting two supporters in a nightclub. The striker had previously been convicted of assault whilst at his former club, Carlisle United. 

Troy Deeney served three months of a 10-month prison sentence for affray earlier this year, but is now aiming to fire Watford into the Premier League after their play-off final defeat to Crystal Palace.

While there will always be misdemeanours and mistakes made by footballers, it is crucial that clubs take the right attitude towards them. Arguably the decisions to stand by players condones their behaviour and sets the example that you will still be rewarded regardless of a criminal offence. 

Millions of people watch football matches every week and they idolise these players, particularly children and young adults who are perhaps more easily influenced by the behaviour of others.

Football needs to get it's act together and take a tough stance on those who serve time in prison. Whether that means clubs sack players is up for debate, but it needs to show people that just because someone has an impressive talent, they cannot be excused for criminal behaviour. 

Jack Jebb's Arsenal career could be over before it has even begun, as the club take a rigid stance against racism, although the pursuit of Luis Suarez over the summer suggests double standards from the Arsenal hierarchy. 

Deeney has shown remorse for his actions, and since remained out of trouble, involving himself in Watford's community schemes. His behaviour shows that he learnt from his errors and is trying to turn things around, perhaps unlike others who have previous convictions.

It is not all bad though, but bad news does sell. 

Crystal Palace's Kagisho Dikgacoi has set up his own foundation to provide young people and children with greater opportunities through sport, while PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle and former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore both campaign for better awareness of mental health issues within football.

Cardiff City striker Craig Bellamy has his own foundation in Sierra Leone and regularly contributes to charities.

Footballers are role models, and they need to act accordingly. When so many people are looking to you to set an example, you must set a positive one.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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