Jordan Henderson is sure to have ruffled more than a few feathers with his latest comments explaining his switch to the Saudi Pro League.
The move in question has baffled many an objective fan, not least of all the LGBTQI+ community that rightly feels betrayed by the actions of a former ally and spokesperson.
It’s an issue that ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has waded into, with the coach putting the ‘moral’ issues to one side and backing his old player despite the evident hypocrisy.
“The challenge is there is so many morality officers around the world nowadays that are judging people and the Jordan I know extremely well, I know the love he had for Liverpool and will always have for Liverpool but he was at the stage of his career where he probably wasn’t going to be the first name on the team sheet any more,” the Northern Irishman told TalkSPORT (via Rousing the Kop).
“He’s 32 , has won absolutely everything, and probably has fancied a different challenge.
“Out of respect, he’s probably decided to go abroad and taking on a new challenge clearly suited him.”
Whilst we’ve enormous respect ourselves for the footballer and man who once wholeheartedly embraced the challenge of captaining the Reds and standing up for important issues, we find it difficult to accept the decisions he’s made of late.
Taking on a ‘new challenge’ simply doesn’t erase the fact that Henderson has ultimately accepted a financially lucrative contract to play football in a country governed by autocrats who don’t believe that LGBT community deserve acknowledgement or rights.
The fact that neither our former skipper nor a former legend in Steven Gerrard seem to comprehend their involvement (unwitting or otherwise) in an aggressive sportswashing campaign is a further struggle.
The now Al-Ettifaq head coach has since been called upon by Amnesty International to discuss that very issue (Daily Mail), though one might reasonably imagine there’s as much chance of that happening as our ex-No.14 suddenly remembering his roots and standing up for the LGBT community abroad.
To hide behind cultural and religious laws now is not only utterly shameful but suggests that Henderson’s prior allyship veered more on the side of a PR stunt than a genuine show of support.
If that is indeed the case, it’s a shame of epic proportions – not to mention a crushing blow to the concept of professional footballers being positive catalysts for change in domestic and global society.
To not challenge Henderson’s gross back-tracking is likewise disappointing on Rodgers’ part
Looking ahead to Liverpool’s season after the international break
Elsewhere in the UK, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s recruitment team appear to have navigated a challenging summer window rather admirably, with the club now finding itself back in the top four following a promising start to the campaign.
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There’s a tough clash coming up in the form of a visit to the Molineux Stadium to face Wolverhampton Wanderers, though many will no doubt be hoping to see a continuation of the masterfully controlling performance against Aston Villa.
Another 3-0 scoreline certainly wouldn’t go amiss!