Why is “sorry” the hardest word to say for footballers?
7th Nov 2014
I’ve been reading the Rio Ferdinand Twitter coverage this week with great interest. I’ve blogged before about how the submissions of lawyers on behalf of Louis Suarez aggravated an FA panel rather than helped the player on that occasion. It looks to me like Ferdinand’s lawyers have scored the same own goal. The explanation offered to the FA about the use of the offensive term was unbelievable and was therefore not believed by the panel. The insult to the intelligence of the panel reading the letter is clear and how this is supposed to be in the clients best interests is beyond me. Not only does the letter insult the tribunal’s intelligence, it then fails to allow room for the expression of any remorse.
In its written reasons, the FA said: “Unfortunately there is … certainly no sign of remorse. The regulatory commission members extracted what ‘mitigation’ they could from the solicitor’s letter, but again reminded themselves that Mr Ferdinand had simply not responded at all to the actual charge brought against him despite several requests for him to do so.”
So another player has been ill served by lawyers not doing a basic piece of work well and thinking through how their submissions will be received. There is an attendant PR issue that then flows from the stance taken. A simple “sorry, I was in a bad mood and had taken a lot of twitter abuse and snapped. I should have known better and will think in the future” would have been a better (and I’m sure cheaper!) approach. No client is well served by sycophantic “yes” men/women as either agent or lawyer.