Harry Kane, Gerard Deulofeu cases show goalkeepers paying the price

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Updated 09 February 2018
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Harry Kane, Gerard Deulofeu cases show goalkeepers paying the price

LONDON: Last Sunday, amid the general debate about the award of Tottenham’s first penalty at Anfield, there was much discussion about whether Harry Kane had dived. The following night, there was a similar debate about whether Gerard Deulofeu had dived to win Watford a penalty against Chelsea.
Both situations were similar, in that they involved a goalkeeper diving at the feet of an attacking player, and that both were considered controversial shone a light onto a much wider issue in football.
Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea goalkeeper, was explicit in comparing the two incidents. 
“Yesterday, we saw when the goalkeeper comes out and is late you make yourself small but the striker puts his foot there and it’s a penalty, every time this will happen. He left his foot and dives it’s not a penalty,” he said. 
There was a debate about whether Gerard Deulofeu had dived to win Watford a penalty against Chelsea.
“I think we all know this kind of player. It happens everywhere in the world, this type of striker sees the goalkeeper coming for the ball, I make myself as small as possible with my belly on the ground and he manufactures the contact. I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s a penalty.”
The key phrase is “he left his foot there.” It’s a clever defense because it is true that forward as they go past defenders often dangle a leg in the hope of, to use Courtois’ phrase, manufacturing contact. That is a very modern, sophisticated development of diving, and it is a huge problem for referees. It also has nothing to do with either the Kane or Deulofeu cases.
Both Courtois and Loris Karius threw themselves toward the ball, leading with their hands and upper body. In both cases the attacking player nudged the ball past them. In both cases the attacking player half-jumped over the goalkeeper and went down after being clipped.
Perhaps both Kane and Deulofeu could have hurdled the goalkeepers successfully. Perhaps both did deliberately ensure that there was sufficient contact to justify them falling over. It does not matter.
In that situation the attacking player has two basic options: He keeps running, hits the keeper hard, wins the penalty and risks being injured; or he jumps, tries to avoid the keeper and risks losing control of the ball. Both situations are penalties. The law is clear that there is no need for contact. It is an offense to “trip or attempt to trip” an opponent. Now you can argue that both Karius and Courtois were going for the ball — they probably were. But if in going for the ball, and missing it, they are in so little control of their bodies that they force an attacking player to take evasive action then they have acted carelessly and so have committed an offense. It is a clear penalty. 
Amid the general debate about the award of Tottenham’s first penalty at Anfield against Liverpool last weekend, there was much discussion about whether Harry Kane had dived.
Attacking players can hardly be blamed if they try both to avoid injury and to make sure the referee realizes they have been impeded.
Courtois admitted he was “late.” His argument that he tried to make himself small is ludicrous, and not just because he’s 6’5”. Imagine if an outfield player lunged for the ball and missed it, forcing an opponent to take evasive action. Nobody would doubt that was a foul, and possibly even a yellow or red card. Goalkeepers, though, seem a breed apart, the laws applying to them in different ways.
Perhaps it is a necessary redress after the decades when goalkeepers could be bundled over the goalline by powerful center-forward. ​
Nobody wants them to be at risk when they come to claim a cross, leaping with arms extended and leaving their ribs exposed. But perhaps the pendulum has swung too far. It seems bewildering, for instance, that Manuel Neuer’s reckless challenge on Gonzalo Higuain in the 2014 World Cup final, kneeing him in the jaw, was not only not a red card but was given as a foul the other way, more confusing still that it is never even spoken about.
Goalkeepers are treated differently. But for everybody, perhaps, it would be useful to forget about notions such as contact and whether a forward is manufacturing an offense and look instead at the defensive player. Is he kicking or attempting to kick? Is he tripping or attempting to trip? Is he impeding? Look at his actions and not the consequences. Kane may have been offside, but both he and Deulofeu were fouled.


Trump pardons boxer Jack Johnson, first black heavyweight champ

Updated 24 May 2018
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Trump pardons boxer Jack Johnson, first black heavyweight champ

  • Trump said Johnson, the ‘Galveston Giant,’ was the victim of what ‘many viewed as a racially motivated injustice.’
  • Johnson, whose consensual relationship with a white woman was seen then by many as taboo, fled to Europe but returned in 1920 and spent a year in prison.

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, who was sent to prison a century ago in a racially charged case.
Trump said Johnson, the “Galveston Giant,” was the victim of what “many viewed as a racially motivated injustice.”
Johnson, who held the heavyweight title from 1908-15, was convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 of taking a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes.”
Johnson, whose consensual relationship with a white woman was seen then by many as taboo, fled to Europe but returned in 1920 and spent a year in prison.
Johnson died in a car crash in 1946 at the age of 68.
Trump signed the pardon at a ceremony in the Oval Office attended by “Rocky” actor Sylvester Stallone, current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and former champion Lennox Lewis.
“Today as president, I’ve issued an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, posthumously to John Arthur Jack Johnson,” Trump said. “The first African American heavyweight champion of the world, a truly great fighter.”
Trump said the conviction “occurred during a period of tremendous racial tension in the United States more than a century ago” and that Johnson had a “very tough life.”
Senator John McCain and other members of Congress and celebrities such as Stallone, who portrayed Rocky Balboa in the movie “Rocky,” have long fought for a pardon for Johnson.
“This was very important to Sylvester Stallone, my friend for a long time,” Trump said.
Linda Haywood, a great-great niece of Johnson, also attended the White House pardon ceremony.
McCain, who has been ailing as he battles brain cancer, welcomed the move.
“This action finally rights a historical wrong, restores a great athlete’s legacy & closes a shameful chapter in our history,” McCain said in a tweet.
During the ceremony, Trump could not resist taking a jab at former president Barack Obama, saying it was “very disappointing for a lot of people” that his predecessor had not pardoned Johnson.
The pardon came just hours after Trump said American football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem “maybe shouldn’t be in the country.”
Most of the National Football League players who have taken part in the kneeling protests against police brutality have been African Americans.
Johnson was born March 31, 1878, in Galveston, Texas, and went 78-8 with 12 draws and 45 knockouts.
He took the heavyweight title on December 26, 1908 in Sydney when police stopped his fight against Tommy Burns in the 14th round after Johnson had beaten the Canadian into submission.
Johnson defended his crown nine times, notably in 1910 over former champion James J. Jeffries, who came out of retirement as “The Great White Hope,” in what was billed as “The Fight of the Century.”
Johnson beat Jim Flynn in 1912 in the first Las Vegas title fight, twice defended the crown in Paris, and then lost it at Havana in 1915 when Jess Willard knocked him out in the 26th round of the longest heavyweight title fight ever.