September 28th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Tevez 'strike' is sad for soccer ...

The controversial Carlos Tevez muses over his employment predicament.
The controversial Carlos Tevez muses over his employment predicament.

In the spectrum of jobs and career paths that exist in the world, some garner more envy than others. A survey by CareerCast.com in January 2011 found that - based on factors such as work environment, income, outlook, physical demands and stress - employment as a construction worker, taxi driver and lumberjack figured in the top-10 worst jobs in America.

Arguably there are worse to be found on the planet: what about diamond mining in Sierra Leone, gun running in Afghanistan or trafficking for a Colombian cocaine cartel? All the jobs above could warrant a call for better conditions. To strike as a drugs mule would be a bold move given the poor record of staff retention by the employer, but the employee would surely have the sympathy of others in less dangerous pursuits for wanting a better way to earn a living.

Curiously, for the mind of Argentina striker Carlos Tevez at least, "football player" was not included in the list. And the diminutive goal-getter may argue that the collator of the rankings has been remiss in overlooking such a back-breaking way to raise a wage.

After all, who else would not feel aggrieved with such a role? His wages at big-spending English club Manchester City wages are rumored to be close to $400,000 a week, a figure so great it must be a trying and taxing experience to figure out just what to spend it on let alone carrying the vast weight of sterling to the bank.

The adulation from soccer fans around the globe is clearly an irritation and certainly would intrude on your weekly shop for the groceries wherever you may happen to be in the world. Of course, it doesn't help when you sign up to lucrative sponsorship deals that exacerbate such a problem, but privacy is a human right is it not?

And then there's all that running around! Passing, shooting, tackling and heading are undoubtedly tiring exercises over 90 minutes, and to do this three times a week? Well, it's enough to exhaust the fittest of proletariat.

It can only be imagined that some of the factors above combined in the head of Tevez when, according to his manager Roberto Mancini, the 27-year-old refused to take to the field of play as a substitute in Manchester City's 2-0 defeat away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The fact that it was his side's first away tie in Europe's biggest and most lucrative club tournament did not matter, or that his team were losing and were in need of his undoubted talent. Seemingly, it did not cross his mind that many thousands of fans had paid exorbitant amounts to travel to the home of the Oktoberfest to cheer on the side they love, or that the hard-earned money of these supporters helps to pay his wages each week.

Tevez, in response to Mancini's accusation that he refused to play, said: "There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood." A statement which runs contrary to the comment he gave straight after the match to pitch-side reporters, where he bemoaned the fact the club had not let him leave in January as he wished.

Is Carlos Tevez a good role model for footballers?

There is of course also a small matter of the contract he signed with City, in which he agreed to play in such situations - i.e. football matches - that he also, if Mancini is proved right, flouted in a moment of petulance.

The Tevez "situation" is far from clear, with his contractual status and the ownership of his services - first with Corinthians in Brazil, then with English sides West Ham United and Manchester United - mired in controversy and complexity. There may well be compelling reasons, of which we are currently unaware, that are justifiably creating his mood.

But, as commentators, we can only judge what is in the public domain, and what was on show at the Allianz Arena was everything the modern-day footballer is criticized for. Overpaid, egotistical and unappreciative is the way many millionaire soccer stars are perceived, and Tevez is cementing that stereotype.

What excuse is there for refusing to play a game that brings joy to more millions of people on planet earth than any other, and pick up a hefty pay packet while you're at it? To put such a capricious notion above all else is to show disrespect to the same millions around the world who have no choice over the poor working conditions they must endure to survive. The same millions who would give anything to swap places.

Compare the Tevez tantrum with the thoughts of former Manchester United and City legend Denis Law earlier this week. In an interview with the BBC to promote his new book, he said he would not have swapped his time in the game to earn more money.

"We played (not to get rich but) to give the hard-working people who attended the games something to feel happy about each week, and that's how I liked it," Law said. Who can say if Tevez will remain as loved when his career is over ...

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. john

    Refusing to play....somehow this equates to a trantum?

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  2. Damian

    The Man United fans were chanting sign him up before he left to Man City ( I was one of them )

    Im pretty happy man united didnt... Sir Alex must of sensed he had an attitude problem and didnt want to deal with this kind of problem.

    Sir Alex makes another awesome choice.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  3. irsyad

    People will do as they please. But their bosses reserve the right to fire them🙂

    September 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  4. Leslie

    He was definitely wrong in refusing to play, but let´s not destroy him for it. He´s always had a good attitude and is overall a very nice person. There must be something else to this. In any case, what is crazy is paying football players so much and treating them like gods in a world where hundreds of families will live very well for a year with Tevez salary of one month. Somehow he and all the other sport "stars" are living outside the real world.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  5. Victor

    Pride comes before a fall

    September 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  6. Bob

    *Yawn*

    Wouldn't be a problem if people played sports instead of sitting on their duffs to watch them.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  7. kurt steiner

    Awesome and well written article.

    That last sentence by Law left me speechless.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  8. Emmanuel Asuquo

    The guy should be allowed to go. Afterall, there are plenty of fantastic footballers in the Mancity squad. How can a player refuse to play after his coach has asked him to . Infact, this is a clear case of indiscipline and he should be punished for that kind of behavior appropriately. The game of football is about entertainment and no fan wants to see that kind of behavior after paying to watch a match.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  9. Fred

    OK, maybe he made a mistake, don´t burn him at the stake for that. He´s human.

    September 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  10. El Splod

    The man is a disgrace. He should be kicked out on his butt.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  11. Odek Fred - Silver Africa

    Tevez is a professional and in this world no one does anything for love , it is all about money . No one really cares where players go after finishing their contracts. If you ask me he is just part of the corporate world work little earn lots save for the future and that will never be a crime . Odek Fred .

    September 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  12. Davide

    Aren't these the same issues that we have been dealing with for years with our American professional athletes?

    "Overpaid, egotistical and unappreciative is the way many millionaire soccer stars are perceived, and Tevez is cementing that stereotype."

    Ummm...doesn't that sound exactly like what people might say about Randy Moss, or Allen Iverson?

    "What excuse is there for refusing to play a game that brings joy to more millions of people on planet earth than any other, and pick up a hefty pay packet while you're at it?"

    I think we all made this exact argument for why the NFL should not lock out.

    But this gets my goat worst of all, when the white British (he is Scottish) player looks at the poor Argentinian and says with his best "throwback player" accent:

    "We played [not to get rich but] to give the hard-working people who attended the games something to feel happy about each week, and that's how I liked it," Law said.

    Just like saying a white linebacker is a "high motor" guy. Or a white baseball player "Charlie Hustle". Absurd.

    As with everything, this is not as clear cut as it seems. Tevaz wasn't just being pestilent nor was he completely misunderstood. This has less to do with the money that he makes (considerable) and more to do with the enslavement of soccer athletes who are at the whim of their ownership to "buy" and "sell" them.

    Say what you will about the labor disputes in American sports, but the single athlete has a lot more freedoms in every American professional sport then they would have in the EPL.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  13. John

    Hes Argentinian, expect anything else? Maturity is not their strong point

    September 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  14. arlo

    Alot of these players have the minds of children. I don't expect much on the brain side of things from them anyway.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  15. Vivien H.

    Do you understand now why Arsene Wenger insits on recruiting attitude and not talent? If you have never sat down to ponder Arsene's way of managing soccer, I think it's time to do so and agree bodly with him that Talent has indeed a price but attitude is all it's all about whether on the field or any other aspect of life.
    Guys focus on your attitude and you're going to live a wonderful life.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  16. Spatialdigits

    Tevez is being driven by ego and greed. Man City should allow him to go to his native land after fulfilling all the mandatory requirements.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  17. Ron

    I think you got it mixed up: It was Dzeko who threw a tantrum last night, not Tevez.

    Tevez claims it was a "misunderstanding," but even then he admitted that he didn't want to warm up a second time because he didn't see the purpose of it since DeJong, instead of him, went into for Dzeko. That's irrelevant in my mind: Tevez should have warmed up when Mancini asked him to do without any hesitancy.

    Tevez should get his wish to leave the club in January, but it's unfortunate Mancini was unable to have him appear last night in order to cup-tie him for this year's CL with his new club.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  18. Bill

    yeah who cares..

    September 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  19. Adam

    Please. The NFL had a league wide lockout. This is not a big deal but rather the only way the player can fight back for what they want. Stop commenting if you know nothing about soccer.

    September 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  20. Nacho

    This is no more noteworthy than the Donavan-Beckham feud in California press, or the magic arm of Henri, or the head butting of Zinedine Zidane. If you question Tevez `s salary, why not ask about the egregious enormous amounts paid out to other player, like Rooney. Why pick on the Argentinian? You really have many more sensational overpaid and outlandish divas in the pocket.

    September 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  21. Keith

    Since both guys don't speak good English, think about the misunderstanding. Carlos are you ready to go in? No coach for quick answer. Coach get angry not knowing Carlos has not completed his. second warmup Both coach and players should have arrived at post match interview together to set things straight. Immature approach to things on both sides.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  22. Andy

    Nacho,
    Before you start spouting off about picking on the argentinian check the facts. Rooney makes $340,052 a week not the $400,000 made by the Tevez. Let's face it, what he did yesterday was plain wrong. He should rot in the reserves.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  23. SOSO SOBEREKON

    tevez is just an arogant fool

    September 28, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  24. XAVi

    He is a professional.

    He is paid to do a job, which happens to be play football. When you don't work, you don't get paid.

    His actions show large amounts of disrespect for the owners, managers, his teammates and supporters of Man City.

    Man City's owners and mangers say he can never play for them again. I am not interested in how much he is paid or what his issue is. He signed a contract to play, so play.

    All other owners and managers should never give him the opportunity to disrespect them again.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  25. fabian

    His action was wrong but plz let's not crucify him. There must be a reason to this, which we all know. He was once d best and most valued player in Mancity but after he exercised his right to leave which dint work out, d management of d club av taken it on them to frustrate d young man which is not fair. Let view dis from diff point of view plz...

    September 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  26. Eli

    No soccer FANS are the disgrace to soccer. How many riots? And this journalist wants to single out a player?!

    September 29, 2011 at 12:00 am | Reply
  27. george

    Where's all this coming from? The refusal to come on pitch where is it coming from? I think the writer here is quick in laying emphasies on money-how much he earns which is missing the entire point of the matter...you and i know we cannot question his professionalism(city will be nothing without him last 2 seasons!)...where i think this whole thing is coming from is man management and mancini is failing at it with tevez.Is like history is repeating itself again-a similar situation happened while mancni was coach at inter where he summoned luis figo(a greatly respected player) and he refused so are you going to put that one on money too,absolutely not Tevez don't play for money if he were he would come on and be useless on the pitch.that would be easy without press trouble he's having now,wouldn't it? So it isn't money that's gotten into him it's man management and for those of y'all saying sir alex did right to let him go well i'll tell ya he's worth 10 berbatovs and 1 chicarito!!!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2011 at 2:03 am | Reply
  28. ifeanyi

    I'll be damned

    September 29, 2011 at 2:10 am | Reply
  29. Alejandro Londono

    I dont know if Ben Wyatt, have time to read about Tevez Life before writting these article. Im sure he didnt, he was probably order to write these article. Not playing is a formal way of protesting. Or i guess the NBA or MLB have play when they are not getting paid.
    Tevez case is similar. He is not happy where he is; and he wants to leave; and they dont let him. Thats all. there is no need for these stupid article.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:15 am | Reply
  30. keith miranda

    Footballers have become spoilt ill disciplined individuals who think they rule the world, when they are merely entertainers for the real intellectual world. Much like clowns...

    September 29, 2011 at 2:38 am | Reply
  31. Dave

    If he sets foot on the pitch during a UEFA game he cant play a UEFA game this year for another team. He is anticipating a move in the next few weeks. Probably not to South America as he has said but more likely to another Euro team. If he had played for City in this game he would have to sit on the bench the whole season if he moved to Inter Milan or any other of the top Euro Teams???

    September 29, 2011 at 4:58 am | Reply
  32. joshua-Kenya

    Give the guy (Tevez) a break. he's done a lot for the club and its not fair that Pretty-Hair-Roberto had benched him up until that game. Tevez is the one striker who you can be sure, gives his all when in the pitch.

    One warm up is enough for any proven soccer star, and besides Roberto should have started him in that game instead of using him as damage control when Man City were clearly losing that game.

    That said, it was rude of Tevez not to go in, but come on guys, lets not judge this incident based on one side of the story.

    I reckon they should've let him go to Corinthians when he asked for the transfer.

    September 29, 2011 at 10:27 am | Reply
  33. KevinT

    It's about time! We as spectators watch soccer to...well, enjoy the game. We certainly do not tune in to watch prima donnas throw tantrums around. As well, we certainly do not tune in just for the sake of taking a survey on who else is being paid millions of dollars. It certainly is not a reality show.

    I do not know whether Tevez was misunderstood or not. Hovever, one fact is certain. All along the course of his career, he has been nothing but a sore thumb in the clubs he has served. That he has been a tireless work horse and a joy to watch cannot be argued. However, at the end of the day, he has become a trademark drama queen. There can only be one captain of a ship and in this case, it would be Mancini. It certainly would not behove the situation if a subordinate staff tried to pull the rug off his captain's feet.

    I say fire him- before his negatice antics catch up with the other team members.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply
  34. Alehandro

    Whenever a footballer steps out of line the knee-jerk reaction of the media and fans is to point to the money he's earning and play the "how dare he?" card. But this case is not about money. Tevez never said he wanted to leave West Ham, Man U, and now City because he wasn't being paid enough. The "We pay your wages" jibe, which is a classic fan cliche that even the disingenuous Denis Law was subjected to during his "altruistic" career, is a standing joke in the dressing room, believe me. The clubs set the market value not the footballers, and, in any case, the payroll bill at most clubs in the EPL is largely met by TV money not gate receipts. So the cash situation is irrelevant to this case, and having people harp on about it every time a player acts up speaks more to their petty jealousy than to the avarice and lack of gratitude of the player in question... To me it's clear that Tevez's issues are rooted in personal issues not money. He wants to be closer to home and his family or, failing that, he wants to live in a more culturally familiar environment, hence his desire to play in Spain or Italy if not South America. He also wants to play! The beef he has with Mancini at City is the same as the one he had at United with Ferguson in that he sees himself as a regular starter not as a 60 minute man or 70th minute sub. Ferguson used him as a squad player and now Mancini is doing the same. That's their prerogative but understandably frustrating for a man who so clearly delivers the goods every time he steps on the field. Better man-management might placate the player, but Mancini does not have those skills, or, if he does, he uses them selectively as we've seen in his erratic relationship with Mario Balotelli. So, yes, Tevez was wrong if he refused to take the field, but there's a lot more to this recurring fracas than meets the eye. Still, when all said and done it's a storm in a tea-cup because he'll be gone in January and we'll have to find another "overpaid prima dona" to berate.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  35. eddie

    Indiscipline shouldn't be condoned or tolerated for any reason. However, everyone deserves a second chance.

    September 30, 2011 at 7:36 am | Reply
  36. Agbotunrayo

    I don't want anybody to conclude on this issue until we get the details of what happened.We need to hear from those guys on the bench to be able
    to conclude his case.Anyway workers also strike to show or communicate to their employer but its just unfortunate that the guy find himself in this mess.Some player will enter the field and deliberate play below their normal capacity,so let get the full details before descending on Tevez

    September 30, 2011 at 11:04 am | Reply
  37. KevinT

    At the end of the day, when you hang up your boots and are sitting by the fireside with your boy, what story will you tell him about your yester years, Tevez?

    September 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  38. Miqe

    Tevez.....Thats not an attitude of a professional footballer....shame on you! City sud fire him off into the bush....

    October 1, 2011 at 2:42 am | Reply
  39. Mohamad Nadzir Abdullah

    It is sad to learned about what hapened in Munich, to know that Tavez refused to come in as a subtitude. To me as long as you are in the squad. you have to obey the manager's decision he is entrusted to do his job. If he fails he will be terminated. Tevez is 27 football is not new to him. He knows what is right and wrong. In this he is wrong. In an organisation if there a conflic either the boss or the subordinate is to leave. In this case if he (Tavez) he should leave. In MU Sir Alex din't even make an offer to Tavez but since he is a gentleman he did not say anything bad about Tavez. Cause he did not want to damage someone's future

    October 1, 2011 at 4:30 am | Reply
  40. Omar

    I'm agree with Eddie.Second chance is a good medicine.The man wants to play,o send Tevez to West Ham in loan.Cool down the situation, maybe in the summer they can sell to another club.The man is a very good player and only need that play soccer again.

    October 4, 2011 at 7:24 am | Reply
  41. Kingsley

    Tevez is one great player and an invaluable asset to any team, any day, any where! It's Mancini and City Mgt's fault things are going this way. If you don't want him to leave, then play him full time 'cos he is a full time player. If City thinks it has money to waste, Tevez has talent to show case and he needs his 90 min...you may only take him out if he underperforms.Tevez hasn't yet...so stuff that nonsense about money and discipline...this is way beyond your league.

    October 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  42. Don

    If I refused to work I would be fired. That means no wages, no benefits, no nothing from the company. How does he continue to get paid? I am so glad he left Manchester United. Look what we got in exchange – Sir Alex went out and got Chicharito. Worlds apart. Never a Tevez fan and was glad to see the back of him. Rooney plays hurt. Tevez refuses because his pride is hurt. Interesting.

    October 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  43. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    In the good old days footballers were some sort of social workers or animators in their respective parishes. Out here in Goa every little Parish had a football team that entertained the parishioners when the team faced the neighboring Parish football team on feast days and on Sunday afternoons. The hardworking parishioners would throng the paddy fields and watch with pride their village mates challenging their rivals till the very last minute of the contest. The honor of wearing the team jersey even for a few minutes was all that mattered for many a decent footballer of those bygone days. Times have changed and things too are no more the same any longer. Honor and shame are replaced by mammon and more mammon.

    October 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply

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