Just a few days after England manager Roy Hodgson masterminded his nations successful path to World Cup 2014 in Brazil, the 66-year-old manager is caught up in the middle of a race storm.
Following a joke he made in the dressing room at half-time of England’s 2-0 win over Poland on Tuesday, Hodgson’s joke, exactly what he said is still uncertain, had to do with an astronaut and a monkey on a space mission. As the joke goes, the monkey performs all the jobs asked of him by mission control, and the punchline is that the astronaut’s one task is to feed the monkey with information.
Hodgson was said to have made the joke referencing right back Chris Smalling passing the ball to Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, to the latter could continue to tear Poland apart in his terrific display.
No complaint was made by either player and despite Townsend and England striker Wayne Rooney amongst others backing Hodgson, the British tabloids have whipped up a furor over the alleged joke.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Hodgson is livid
“Joy is short-lived in this job. The players are as angry about this as I am. We have just had a successful period and, although I wouldn’t suggest we intend to rest on our laurels, I think we have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Instead we get this.”
Since the news broke on Thursday, several high-ranking figures within the game have jumped to Hodgson’s defense with FA Chairman Greg Dyke leading the charge.
“Roy Hodgson is a man of the highest integrity, an honorable man who is doing a great job with the England team,” Dyke said. “He has fully explained to us what he said and the point he was making to the players in the dressing room at half-time on Tuesday night. He has also explained the context in which he made his remarks.”
While Rooney Tweeted the following in defense of Hodgson:
Whatever you make of Hodgson’s joke or comments, the context it was used in seems to back up that no intent to racially abuse any of his players was apparent. Looking at Hodgson, how and why would he ever do that?