If I Shoot You I'm Brainless, But If You Shoot Me Then You're Famous

The Osvaldo-Lamela thing. Let's do it.

There's something very retrograde about holding up a football locker room as the last bastillion of this sort of behavior being accepted. What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room sounds like a line from Full Metal Jacket's chastising 1960's, not one month removed from 2012. There are three different aspects to this which I find particularly interesting:

The double standard
Osvaldo is a Roma player, but so is Lamela. Thus, Osvaldo hit a Roma player. From who else would fans accept this as many have with Osvaldo from an Inter player, from a fan? No. So why do the ones we should hold to an even greater standard get a free pass? And I find no way to escape the feeling that the reactions of most would differ according to who were involved. If Taddei had struck DDR, for example, my guess is that we would have to look hard for anyone willing to look the other way.

That said, I'm willing to treat this as a one-off and expect things to be back to normal after the coming weekend. I'll do the machine gun for each and everyone of his future goals. But even one-off actions need punishment.

The punishment
The excuse that this happens in every locker room on every level doesn't justify it. It doesn't mean it's the end of the world; a punishment has been meted out, as it should have been, and it seems fair. The fine is neither here nor there, and doesn't matter all that much. The player, most any player at this level, can afford not to care. So for it to be a real punishment, you have to take away something else, something truly valued. Games is the currency that matters, and Roma were right to charge Osvaldo in it.

So can't that be it? The player is suspended from 10 days, one game, and we all move on. See you next game, Cipolla. Oh, no? Right, forgot about the uproar about the suspension. I forgot about the opportunistic laments that we won't have enough attackers for Fiorentina. I forgot that there are people who seem to think that it's fine for Roma to punish Osvaldo, but did they have to do it now? To that I say, of course. There is no way in which you can retain credibility in your rules and decisions if you let the punishments slide because of worries about not having a full team for a game.

The media logic
Far be it from me to claim that Roma works in a healthy media climate. To be sure there are many good journalists involved, but they're crowded out and drowned in the noise of opportunistic hacks. Yet one thing I refuse to fault any of them for is writing about this. If a journalist received this information but didn't report it, he's less a journalist and more an errand boy for the club. And while I'm sure there are a great deal of people who would see nothing wrong in a press covering only the virtuous feats of the club and none of the hardships, that way lies nothing but trouble. (That said, I give no free passes for locker room snitches or spies, whether or not there were any or not this time around.)

As for the club's own response, to publicly state the incidents had occurred and that a punishment would be forthcoming was impeccable from a PR point of view. I don't know, and I think only few people do, whether Roma released the information because of a moral standpoint, or because of wanting to get in front of the story and control it rather than react to it. Either way, it was handled well and with decisiveness. I couldn't ask for more in this regard. But some apparently could: Milan's response to various incidentsmostly involving Ibrahimovichas for the past two days been brought forth as an example of how to do it. For me, Milan's response indirectly admits that the club permits, or at the very least does not combat, hazing and varying treatments based on the pay check. What happened to us? I thought we wanted to be different from that? I thought we wanted to set an example. Spalletti's homportamenti giusti, is that all forgotten so soon?