Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed that the club will be speaking with forward Raheem Sterling after a video of him taking nitrous oxide were leaked to and reported on in a filthy rag that continues to sully the good name of newspapers everywhere.
Only days earlier the 20-year old, who scored the opening goal in last nights win over Newcastle United, was pictured smoking a shisha pipe which, according to various sections of the media, is as strong as 200 cigarettes. While that dubious fact remains debatable, what’s certain is that not only will the club be speaking to the player about his future conduct, but that Sterling needs to take a page out of former baseball star Derek Jeter’s rule book and collect everyone’s cell phone at the door to his home.
“I don’t think it is something you should be doing, it’s as simple as that. We want players here who are super-professional and focused on their football – I know he is,” said Reds boss Rodgers when queried on the incident. “It’s not just on the field, it’s off the field as well but I will speak with him on it and we’ll move on. Young players make mistakes. As long as they learn from them, that is what is important.”
Although nitrous oxide — or laughing gas as it’s more commonly known — is not illegal, it is a substance that comes with a certain stigma already attached to it. The argument that footballers are role models and should act appropriately has been beaten to death so there’s no need to tread that ground further, but Bobby Barnes, deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, did his best to bring this matter into perspective. “The fact of the matter is you can have all the education programmes in all industries and occasionally people are human and people will make mistakes,” he commented after confirming that the PFA will take no action over the incident. “It’s important that we acknowledge that young people, regardless of the education that’s put before them, will make mistakes, and not just footballers.”