Published: 14 June, 2012
by RICHARD OSLEY
ONE of the great shames of an otherwise exciting start to the European Football Championships is the lack of imagination in the goal celebrations.
Fortunately there has been none of the worst kind of celebrations: machine gunning, golf swings, Bale hearts or Hitler salutes. But there has been no meticulously planned choreography either.
So when Samir Nasri scored against England on Monday evening, he rather lazily reached for the ‘shush-it’, the hushing gesture of raising a finger to closed lips, generally accepted as a ‘silence the critics’ manoeuvre.
It was a bit confusing as to who Sam was ‘shushing-it’ to as the stadium seemed half-empty and there was no England supporters’ band playing The Great Escape over and over and over and over again.
Yet if Nasri is puzzled as to who should be getting a big ‘shush-it’ this week, I can easily nominate some recipients.
It’d be the morons who greeted Joleon Lescott’s goal for England with jokes about the scars he sustained in a road crash when he was just five years old.
In the newly discovered, confusing world of internet trolls and bullies – and a world where saying Fearne Cotton was a bum choice to present the Jubilee boat thing also counts as bullying – it emerged that the best way for some people to reward Lescott for making the pubs go ‘yeeeaaahhhhhh’ with his goal was to liken him to The Elephant Man.
The reference was all over social media.
The man may have treated Everton badly, he might not quite be as good as Bobby Moore, he might not even really be the best man to play centre half for England.
But after his goal, here was the internet stream:
* ‘Joleon Lescott looks like Lieutenant Worf off Star Trek’
* ‘Lescott looks like he has been dumped in toxic waste’
* ‘Lescott is a mutant’
* ‘It looks like Lescott has glued pubes to his head. Sort it out.’
And so on. He was also compared to Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a martian and an old teddy.
Presumably these messages and ‘jokes’ are shared by the world’s perfect people who somehow know painful misfortune will never beset them.
Now this stuff isn’t ‘material’ the politicians are on about when they talk about zapping internet trolls, but it does show what cruel hyenas we are.
What a thing that in a football tournament where we are all supposed to be supporting the same team, united for a summer, that the man who gets a goal is rewarded with abuse.
When that happens, it’s the internet that looks like it’s been dumped in toxic waste.
I hope Lescott scores and gets a winner’s medal from this tournament.
If he does and someone makes an Elephant Man joke, take a finger to your lips and give them a SHUSH-IT.