Extenuating circumstances, a long commute, creative issues… call it what you will. But Carlos Tevez has got away with this one.
Tevez was caught driving whilst banned and without insurance and was given another driving ban, along with a hefty 250 hours of community service on April 3.
In order to pay his penance to the UK, the punishment was to work for free in and around Manchester. But with only 28 hours of his community service completed Tevez joined Juventus from City this summer, and he now lives in Turin.
And it seems as if the British legal system looks kindly upon such dilemmas, because today it has been reported that Tevez will pay a $4,000 fine and the whole case will be over.
So for a striker that earned $370,000 a week while playing for Manchester City, is $4,000 really going to make much difference?
Not at all.
His lawyer Gwyn Lewis said: “Events overtook his control and he was sold to Juventus which meant his work permit was no longer valid and he was unable to stay and complete the court order. He did nothing to affect this change.”
Look, I’m not lambasting Tevez, we all make mistakes. But when it comes to EPL players earning a reputation as being ‘above and beyond’ the law, you can see why some of the public look on soccer players disapprovingly. Especially in the UK.
How hard would it have been for Tevez to fly back every other Sunday and put on a soccer clinic for young children in Manchester, to help inspire them to play the game? Even that is special treatment, as people in Carlitos’ situation would usually just get to pick up garbage from the side of roads and give their time back to the community that way.
Yet the privilege of playing professional soccer has struck again. There was a loophole in the law and Tevez and his lawyers have found it. Well done.
But after breaking laws time and time again and just being handed a miserly fine, surely it is time for professional soccer players, especially in the EPL, to be held more accountable for their actions?
Tevez, John Terry, Joey Barton, Nile Ranger… the list goes on and on. Those are players who have broken laws and have probably been punished more leniently than your average Joe in the street.
Is it right or wrong? You decide. But after recent reports of players from League One side Crewe being arrested on sexual assault charges, former Newcastle striker Ranger being charged of rape in court and so many other unsavory incidents, this surely has to stop.
Whether they like it or not EPL players and professional soccer players are role models. On and off the field. I think it is about time more players embraced it. Plenty of players do and many give back so much to the community and young children.
But players like Tevez aren’t helping anyone out. Except for themselves.