In The Garden Of Eva – Carneiro Celebrity Adding To Uproar
In February 2011, Manchester City’s head of physiotherapy, Jamie Murphy, was announced to have left the club by “mutual consent”.
Talk of a demotion had been denied but there had been widespread reports of tensions between him and then manager Roberto Mancini for some time over continued injuries at the club and a settlement was agreed before he exited.
His departure just about made the news: a couple of very brief articles on some media outlets’ sites that barely caused a ripple.
Compared to that incident, the latest storm threatening to engulf Jose Mourinho and Chelsea regarding their medical staff resembles a 7.8 earthquake on the Richter scale.
The Portuguese manager’s very public demotion of club doctor, Eva Carneiro, and physio, Jon Fearn, have caused outrage amongst the football community with a large majority calling for her reinstatement and an apology from Mourinho.
Indeed, his behaviour towards both Carneiro and Fearn during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Swansea was quite shocking. It’s hard to excuse him except to pause and consider the ‘heat of the moment’ impact and Mourinho’s now-infamous temper tantrums.
The rage with which he exploded as the pair made their way on to the pitch in the dying moments to attend to the injured Eden Hazard didn’t make for a good look. His post-match postulations that Carneiro or Fearn didn’t understand the game and his subsequent downgrading of their roles a day later added even more fuel to an already furious fire.
When taken at face value, the whole incident leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Two professionals were trying to do their job to the best of their ability and were being accosted in public for it by the club’s head coach.
There has been speculation as to what exactly the reasons were or if there were any underlying motives but very few know for sure. Either way, it looks like both Carneiro and Fearn’s positions now look untenable and have cause for constructive dismissal.
What is striking, though, has been the coverage the entire episode has attracted. Mounds of column inches have been dedicated to the defence of both doctor and physio, but particularly Eva Carneiro.
In fact, in the majority of articles her name dominates the page, despite both individuals’ demotion.
Through no fault of her own, it is an undeniable fact that the 41-year-old doctor has become a bit of a celebrity in footballing circles. Despite being heralded within her own medical profession as being one of the best in the business, her attractiveness has pushed her status as a “lads” icon in the boorish, bawdy world of the beautiful game. It’s an ugly and unfortunate truth.
It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to suggest that had this happened to anyone else, or even just Fearn alone, there might not have been the same uproar. Despite the differences with each incident, the reporting of both this and the aforementioned Murphy-Mancini-Man City case are quite startling.
If the campaign currently behind Carneiro is an attempt to protect women’s roles in football and to encourage further participation at all levels of the game, that is understandable and commendable but it should be made pointedly clear that is the reason, otherwise we surely run the risk of double standards.
Maybe Jaime Murphy is sat at home now wondering where the support for him was back in 2011? If that is an example of ‘whataboutery’ then so be it, but it remains highly relevant.
Jose Mourinho can be a repugnant individual at the best of times but, from the outside looking in, the sexist connotations that are being bandied about regarding this incident are OTT and yet to be proven – the entire episode has, largely, gotten way out of hand.
Have Carneiro and Fearns been wronged by Mourinho? It would seem so, and he’ll most likely pay for it. Is the extensive coverage of the incident due to one party’s accidental celebrity – most definitely, and it’s difficult to feel like there’s not something a little wrong about that.