In yet another case of a professional footballer saying the wrong thing on social media, Stoke City's defender Robert Huth is the latest to fall foul of #Football Association rules, after his interaction with a Twitter account that posted an extremely poor taste tweet asking users to view explicit pictures and to guess the gender of the individuals concerned.
Thirty-year-old Huth, a former Chelsea player and German international, was considered to have made "an aggravated breach" of the rules according to the FA, given the subject matter concerned. As such, they deemed that his behaviour warranted a two-game ban and a £15,000 fine. The player has also agreed to participate in a mandatory education course related to his actions.
Huth is the latest in a line of top-flight footballers to be reprimanded for similar actions regarding the usage of social media. QPR's Rio Ferdinand was astounded and angered in October last year when his slang reference to someone else's mother in a tweet, resulted in his three-match ban and a £25,000 fine, after he failed to respond to a FA charge of misconduct against him.
Liverpool's eccentric striker Mario Balotelli received a ban for one game from the FA in early December 2014, following what was deemed to be a controversial Instagram post. Indeed it was only his penitence that saved the Italian from a longer ban. The image he included in the post was viewed as depicting racial and anti-Semitic stereotypes. He also received a fine and was ordered to attend an education programme, in much the same manner as Huth.
All of those (so-called) cases of misconduct followed on from the slightly more complex case involving Nicolas Anelka, during his spell with West Brom. During a match with them he was deemed to have made an anti-establishment gesture that was more commonly associated with Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, a French comedian. The gesture often gives rise to anti-Semitic connotations and prompted the FA to hand him a five-match ban, which he responded to by tweeting that he was in turn terminating his contract. West Brom were rightly angered by his social media message and sacked him on the grounds of "gross misconduct". That prompted Hull City's Yannick Sagbo to support Anelka through social media, prompting the FA to fine him £15,000 and send him on an education course as well. #CelebritiesOne wonders who will be the next high profile footballer to fail to heed the lessons from their fellow players' experiences, as the fines and bans begin to mount.