A spitting, punching disgrace in EPL
Carragher's gob and West Ham violence reveal ugly, divided EPL
Jamie Carragher spat at a 14-year-old girl.
The sentence defies belief. The words fail to register so the headline gets read again.
Jamie Carragher spat at a 14-year-old girl.
The brain remains confused as it scrambles for context. A 40-year-old man, a Liverpool legend and respected pundit, spat towards a child's face.
It can't be true. It's fake news. It must be the fabricated work of a sad Manchester United fan with too much time on his hands and a social media account.
But there's a video. Carragher's caught on camera.
He tires of the "banter" from a United fan as they travel side by side, in separate cars, on a motorway.
So Carragher spits through the window and hits the guy's daughter.
It's insane. The English Premier League has gone mad, truly mad.
That's the kneejerk reaction, the only rational response after a weekend of such repugnant violence.
A day earlier, children were pulled from the stands of West Ham's London Stadium, that soulless temple to naked greed, for their own safety.
They joined the Burnley substitutes' bench. Those subs, real men in a sea of squabbling children, gave up their seats to rival supporters because West Ham fans were fighting everyone, literally and metaphorically.
They were fighting the injustice of moving to a stadium they never wanted. They were fighting the ineptitude of a poor team.
Most of all, they were fighting the club's owners.
It says something about the EPL's moral compass that in a competition full of oligarchs with dubious human-rights records and Russian billionaires with dubious business records, a couple of porn barons are considered rather benign.
But they are killing the club for profit.
David Gold and David Sullivan conduct themselves as East End gangsters from a Guy Ritchie movie - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Football Clubs.
First Birmingham City and now West Ham, they run clubs as if the whole enterprise is one, long fire sale, stripping the assets, including the stadium, until there is literally nothing left to sell.
They'll do anything to retain power, including meeting with self-confessed hooligans. Last week, the West Ham board met with leaders from the Inter City Firm, that notorious group of slashing, maiming nutcases from the 1980s.
After their cosy chat, a planned protest march among supporters was called off, with accusations that protestors were "leaned on".
If they marched peacefully, they risked violent reprisals.
This is how a couple of porn barons run an EPL club.
After the aborted march, disillusioned fans took their fight to the stadium. There were pitch invasions and a stampede towards the directors' box.
A female steward was knocked over. Crying kids were pushed aside. West Ham supporters started throwing punches - at each other.
Hundreds of middle-aged men stood beneath Gold and Sullivan, running their fingers across their necks in that universal throat-slitting gesture.
A coin struck Sullivan's face. Later, a bottle of urine was allegedly thrown at Gold.
The game hasn't witnessed such seething hatred since the early 1990s.
The rich-poor divide in football has existed since the birth of the EPL, but social media adds fuel to the flames, providing an uncontrollable accelerant.
If there's a tenuous link between Carragher's spitting and West Ham's violence, it's the latent rage that existed beforehand.
In the build-up to the West Ham-Burnley game, certain Twitter accounts could be accused of an incitement to riot, goading and challenging the lunatic fringe to do "something".
United-Liverpool games always bring out the haters, those idiotic minorities who confuse football matches with world wars, but social media provides a pulpit to preach violence like never before.
Every man, woman and Sky Sports pundit is constantly being poked with a stick to provoke a vicious reaction, to achieve click-bait or, better yet, make a grainy video go viral.
Carragher's actions cannot be condoned. Spitting is our venom.
We are literally dribbling on people, revealing our bile. It's a disgusting, contemptuous act.
No wonder he rushed out an apology. He should be fired.
But why was Carragher goaded four or five times before he finally lashed out?
Why was he filmed throughout the "banter"? We know the answers.
The cameraman is the definitive agent provocateur, surreptitiously filming Carragher to feed the online beast.
Thanks to social media and the 24-hour news cycle, modern football exists in a cycle of perpetual hatred.
Everyone is angry. All the time.
Win, lose or draw, we must abhor.
Carragher's spitting and West Ham's thuggish antics said a lot about themselves, but the sudden violence revealed a hell of a lot more about the game itself.
Carragher sorry for spitting, suspended by Sky Sports
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has been suspended from his role as a Sky Sports pundit after video footage emerged of him spitting towards a girl in a car, the television company said last night.
Carragher has apologised for the incident, which took place after Liverpool lost 2-1 to Manchester United on Saturday, calling it "a moment of madness", reported Reuters.
The 40-year-old former England international was summoned for talks with Sky Sports who had earlier described his actions as "unacceptable".
Carragher was driving home after summarising on Manchester United's win over Liverpool at Old Trafford when he apparently became involved in a conversation with the occupants of an adjacent car.
A video taken from the car, released on the website of several British newspapers, clearly shows Carragher spitting.
In the video, the father of the girl can be heard shouting: "Unlucky Jamie lad. Two-one".
Totally out of order and I've apologised personally to all the family this evening, Carragher said on Twitter.
"I was goaded 3/4 times along the motorway while being filmed and lost my rag. No excuses, apologies."
Carragher, who joined Sky Sports after retiring as a player in 2013, has become a popular pundit working regularly alongside former United defender Gary Neville.
Danish broadcaster TV3 has also dropped him from their coverage of the Champions League last 16, second leg between Manchester United and Sevilla tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
Peter Norrelund, head of sport at TV3 Sport, said it is yet to decide on Carragher's long-term future on the station.
The spitting episode has prompted former hardman Vinnie Jones to blast Carragher.
Jones told presenter Alan Brazil on Talksport: "Spitting at 14-year-olds through a window? He is presenting on the TV. For Christ's sake, he is supposed to be one of the top men."