In defense of Ngog: All strikers are cheaters

Olympic+Team+Trials+Diving+Day+1+OGDcp2iI2tZlWhile the English press are going after David Ngog for diving, the fact is that what the young Frenchman did yesterday was actually no worse than what almost every striker does (including Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent) – the only difference was that Birmingham’s Lee Carsley was fortunate not to make contact.

Clearly, David Ngog’s flop was a dive and should not have been a penalty – but on the other hand Carsley did obstruct Ngog’s path. Carsley was well behind the ball and if Ngog doesn’t fly in the air there is likely contact and a penalty. Ngog is guilty of embellishment and should receive stick, but his singling out is a bit extreme and one has to wonder if this would be the case were he English.

If you saw the Spurs-Sunderland game this weekend, Darren Bent won a penalty in which both he and the Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes were both going for a 50-50 ball. Bent got a touch on the ball first, but was clearly going to ground well before Gomes ever made contact. If Gomes pulled his arm back at the last moment Bent goes down with absolutely no contact and is called a cheat. But instead he got contact and the announcers praised him.

The problem though was that the intent of both Bent and Ngog were exactly the same – to force the official to call a penalty by going to ground not to stay on their feet and continue playing.

This is not really a post about defending Ngog – flopping is bad and should be cracked down on – but there is a real grey area in the rules. Without making contact Carsley still obstructed Ngog, just as Gomes obstructed Bent even if Bent was already going down.

I guess the question here is whether it is intent that matters or the outcome of the act? In my mind someone is a cheat if they purposely set out to deceive. In that case they are all cheats. But if it is the outcome of the act that matters most, then Ngog is a cheat – but only because he does it badly.

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