Some of the initial reaction on Theo Walcott’s mocking gesture today toward Spurs fans came across as a bit of, well “overreaction.”
But was it really so bad? Isn’t this far more “misdemeanor” than “felony?”
Walcott flashed an impromptu “2-0” score with his hands as he was stretchered off the Emirates Field on Saturday toward the end of Arsenal’s win over North London rival Tottenham in third round FA Cup action.
Cooler heads were thankfully prevailing with Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood, who dismissed the attacker’s gesture as “a bit of banter.” And he’s correct. A couple of points to quickly consider here:
First, this was at the Emirates, Walcott’s and Arsenal’s home ground. It changes the conversation a bit if Walcott (or anyone) does this at someone else’s home ground. Taunting home fans always seems ill advised (potentially a threat to incite fan unrest in some grounds) unnecessary and even a bit tacky.
Second, his gesture was pretty benign. It was just the score! The correct score, at that.
The conversation changes if Walcott does the “throat slashing” gesture or something with a little more menace. A “2-0” score sounds more “playful” than “sinister.”
A week ago, weren’t we talking about something far worse, something from the hands of Nicolas Anelka, who is apparently pitifully under-informed about the friends he hangs out with?
And finally (back to Walcott and Saturday), aren’t these teams are bitter rivals, aren’t they?