Thursday, 19 June 2014

Is this really a prank?

I hope that I am not alone in finding it quite horrific that the media are presenting this - World Cup 2014: England team masseur in birthday prank, England players treat masseur 'Smally' to a dip in the ice bath to celebrate 50th birthday  - as a "birthday prank". Whatever the reaction of Paul Small as it appears in the video, to (1) carry out something like this, (2) to film it and then (3) to go further and post it to the web .... well, it does not look to me like an innocent prank.

It looks much more like an instance of workplace bullying, and in just about any other set of circumstances this is in all likelihood the way in which the media would be describing it.

That prestigious England footballers appear to be happy to broadcast their participation in this, and to do so without any censure either in the media or (at least as far as we can tell) through disciplinary procedures, is alarming both because of the example it sets for other workplaces and/or sports related environments and because of what it tells us about their standards of behaviour.

And apart from anything else ... it was an extremely dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. I wonder whether the coverage would have been different had Paul Small suffered a serious injury as a result?

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