If Jamie Carragher could rewind the clock, he would.
The Liverpool legend, suspended by Sky Sports until the end of the season, has been made to pay for the moment of madness which has left his career as a highly-paid football pundit in jeopardy.
Carragher spat at a Manchester United fan hours after Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last Saturday afternoon and shocking footage of the incident became headline news by Monday morning.
The 40-year-old then spent all of Monday apologising for the incident, conducting heartfelt interviews with Sky, BBC and ITV.
He also offered a sincere apology for his actions on Twitter.
While some people believe everybody should just move on from the incident, others feel that Carragher should be made to pay by losing his job.
Police, meanwhile, will not take further action against either Carragher or the driver of the car, who will attend a driving improvement course for using his mobile phone while involved in the altercation with the former Premier League star.
Some of Carragher’s ex-teammates have come out in support while other high-profile figures, including Vinnie Jones, reckon he should be down the Job Centre looking for a new career.
Peter Crouch makes an excellent point about the incident
Peter Crouch, who played alongside Carragher for both Liverpool and England, has written about his former teammate in his latest Daily Mail column - and he’s made a very interesting point about the amount of provocation that footballers have to endure.
“It has not been easy to watch or read about the story that Jamie Carragher has been caught up in this week,” Crouch admitted.
“I played for Liverpool and England with 'Carra' for a good few years and, though some people might not want to hear this, he's a great lad. He doesn't need me to say what he did was totally wrong and he knows better than anyone that his actions cannot be defended.
“But let's be clear that the incident started with provocation and I wanted to try to give an insight into the kind of world that footballers live in now — one where provocation is only a pointed mobile phone away.
“Carra crossed the line but there are points when we are all taken towards it.
“Believe me, it happens all the time. Whether you are sitting in a restaurant, travelling on a train or standing outside a stadium, the cameras are there.
“I’d like to think I'm an approachable fella and if someone wants me to pose for a picture, I'll always say 'yes' even when I'm with my family.
“What I can't abide, though, are the sly photographs that people take without asking. You can spot what they are doing a mile off; they make it look like they are browsing on their phone but, really, you know they are trying to capture an image of you in an off-guard moment.
“I can't work out why you would want to do that but I really learned that lesson four years ago when someone filmed me throwing a few shapes on the dancefloor in Ibiza; I woke up the following morning to discover that I had gone viral!”
Crouch: The worst example of provocation I have experienced
On a more serious note, Crouch then revealed the worst incident of provocation that he has suffered during his career.
“The worst experience I had of something like this came during my time playing for Liverpool. My wife Abbey and I decided at the end of one season to head over to Ibiza, so we decided to get a late-night flight with a budget airline from Manchester,” the Stoke City striker continued.
“It shouldn't have been a problem but from the moment we went through security, I knew things could go wrong.
“A group of Manchester United fans started chanting and we exchanged some harmless banter. The majority of them were good humoured but, unfortunately, a minority of them escalated things and started to become quite abusive.
“I knew if we had got on the plane it would have been absolutely unbearable, so we made the decision not to board.”
Crouch: It can be very hard not to react
Crouch added: “When I first started playing, the only time you knew you would get photographed was if the paparazzi were outside a smart restaurant in town.
“Now, literally at every moment you are away from home or the training ground, you can have a lens pointed at you.
“At the end of the day, though, we are all human.
“Jamie Carragher will be devastated that he did what he did last Saturday in what he called a 'moment of madness'. But in the face of provocation, it is hard not to react.”
Crouch has made a very important point
Crouch has eloquently described how footballers - both current and former - are subjected to provocation on occasions when they’re out and about.
Like he says: footballers are only human, like the rest of us. Can any of us honestly say, hand on heart, that we wouldn’t react badly if members of the public deliberately antagonised us?
Crouch makes an important point and one that Carragher will surely thank him for.
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