Despite being relegated with Hull City, disgraced midfielder Jake Livermore will have to endure a wait to find out what his personal punishment will be. Livermore failed a drugs test after a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, with apparent traces of Cocaine in his specimen. He was subsequently suspended by the FA and the Hull City. How should he be punished?
It’s only natural there will be people calling for a harsh punishment. Livermore is in a privileged position, admired and watched by thousands of youngsters who wish to emulate him. However, with privilege comes responsibility. He has let not only himself down, but his manager, the club that employs him and the fans that pay exorbitant ticket prices to see him play. However, does the club need to be compassionate to a young man who has made a mistake?
Is a two year ban too harsh? Should his contract be torn up to make an example? I work in a job where the employer has a duty of care towards its employees. If I was to declare that I was struggling with a drugs problem, then I would be given help and guidance to get myself back on track. So is being a Premier League footballer any different?
To sack him would be the wrong decision. Of course he should be punished, perhaps with a fine to be donated to a charitable cause and a ten-game ban. He should be made to do some sort of community work to atone for his mistake. But to sack him would show that mistakes won’t be tolerated. Considering that everyone makes mistakes, this would be making an unnecessary example of him.
Nevertheless, it makes sense that Livermore should be punished heavily. If the FA and the club were to ban him for a lengthy period of time, it would surely send out a signal that engaging in criminality won’t be allowed in the professional game. But will this really change anything? Livermore doesn’t deserve to have his career ruined and I he will be the first to admit that he was in the wrong.
In comparison, several other players have tested positive for recreational drug use. The most high profile and recent case in the Premier League was that of Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu. He admitted to actually playing whilst under the influence of cocaine. Chelsea subsequently sacked the Romanian.
Now, if we were in a perfect world we could say that everyone should be treated the same. Mutu played for Chelsea who arguably could afford to lose a player of his stature and replace him. It’s different for Hull City. They haven’t got the same resources. Livermore can’t simply be replaced. The controversial point is that this case should be treated on its merits. The FA must take into account that Hull have just been relegated and can’t afford to lose a player of his talent. Historically, clubs that get relegated into the Championship need to get promoted the following season, otherwise they slide down the leagues.
Whatever happens, after a tough week for Hull City, it will only get worse for both them and Jake Livermore.