Carlos Tevez may not have spent an inordinate amount of time hanging around university sociology departments trading hypotheses with scholars, but he does know right down to his corpuscles that human nature contains at least one pathetic facet.
Manchester City suspend Carlos Tevez pending a review
The club confirm they have handed the Argentine forward a two-week suspension over his alleged conduct during the 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Tevez's behaviour leaves City relationship at breaking point. Read article
Carlos Tevez denies he refused to play in City defeat to Bayern Munich. Read article
Tevez refusal to play makes a sorry night one to forget for City. Read article
He knows that the wretched species long since has engraved its priority list, and that the demonstrated capacity to score football goals keeps a skyscraping ranking, decidedly above a whole bale of allegedly superior ethical issues people go on about to alleviate boredom at moments such as this.
He knows a brief dearth of scoring goals does not blot out the idea that a certain human can score goals, maybe even enough to tie for the most recent final lead in the top league. In the judgement of the world's seven billion, that knack makes a person more valuable than other people.
If his Manchester City stint really did end on Tuesday night in Munich, he will go elsewhere, score a goal and wreak booming cheering. If his Manchester City stint persists through some deal forged after all the blood stops boiling, and if he scores a goal against, oh, I don't know, maybe even that team from the same city, the light-blue reaction will not resemble contempt. There will be no Twittered-upon moment of moralising silence just to punish his anti-team affront.
I'm not even sure why Tevez issued that statement suggesting a misunderstanding, but in such situations it often proves prudent to include the word "money" among the guesses.
Was his refusal to enter the match wrong in about 10 different ways? Oh, sure.
Beyond even the issues of perspective and spoilage and sportsmanship and decency lies the dizzying diva-ness of it. Even in one global recession and maybe another, athletic diva-ness persists with an uninterrupted rise, forever reserving the right to top itself.
In a world full of earnest scrappers who would ache to enter the second half of a Champions League match at Bayern Munich for a six-figure weekly wage, somebody wouldn't enter the second half of a Champions League match at Bayern Munich for a six-figure weekly wage.
A bygone generation would call this "girlish" except that it would be a discredit to girls, who when playing sport in general seldom come close to matching the familiar levels of huffiness and prissiness present in the Tevez Tuesday.
Should Manchester City do everything in their contractual power to jettison this princess? Yeah. The club should do so, less for the ready list of emotional reasons than for the cold, logical threat he represents to their upward momentum.
Teams too stockpiled with divas have decomposed enough times to persuade.
If it were possible to tuck him on some frigid training pitch on the outskirts of Vladivostok, Manchester City should have done so by lunchtime yesterday.
Adding to all else, he just officially became a distraction, the forecast calling for the adjective "chronic".
But then above all else, we go back to the moment of Roberto Mancini's request on Tuesday night in Munich. At that very moment comes a crux one really might discuss in sociology departments. It can't be especially surprising that the moment could go the way Mancini said it did.
By any reasonable life standard, things have gone Tevez's way for an excellent long while, and they have continued to go his way through a small spate of controversies that wind up as hiccups so long as the balls keep rocketing into the nets.
By almost all life standards he breezes through the storms, no matter that West Ham United still warrant ceremonial, retroactive relegation for 2007, and so on.
There's no compelling reason for him to think he didn't have ample power in that situation. What's a manager, anyway, really, except some guy always primed for replacement (except, of course, across town)?
He operated from pitiful narcissism, sure, but also from a sense of indestructibility, even to reputation. If he's not tough enough for the north-west climate, he might well play in another region or country, knock in some goals and cause mass swooning. The cheering and praise-from-us-media will resume. If somehow this becomes the time he finally got it wrong, and if his prosperity ceases as of this, then call that some sort of welcome landmark.
Even in a myopic Champions League stadium, he remained also on planet Earth. Give us earthlings honour and commitment and loyalty, sure, but more so than all of that sweet stuff, give us goals. We'll think up the rationalisations later.
The National Sport
& Chuck Culpeper on