Sky Sport's suspension of football pundit Jamie Carragher following the highly publicised spitting incident over the weekend has led to much speculation over his future with the broadcaster, The incident once again raises the age old question of whether those in the public eye, including footballers and television personalities, are role models and therefore should be held to a higher standard of behaviour than the rest of us. The video footage of the ex Liverpool footballer spitting at a 14 year old girl during an exchange with her father following Liverpool's defeat by Manchester United on Saturday makes for extremely unpleasant viewing.
Carragher has apologised for his "moment of madness" but it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to save his job. Many employers would see Carragher's behaviour as a clear act of gross misconduct, entitling them to dismiss him without notice, not least because of the reputational damage it has caused. Sky will be concerned not to have a knee jerk reaction, and in Carragher's favour could be his apparent popularity with Sky viewers, his previously unblemished record, and his expressions of remorse, which appear genuine. There is also the risk of expensive litigation if Carragher's lucrative contract is terminated. Those of us with an interest in both football and employment law will await Sky's next move with interest.
The parents of a 14-year-old girl caught up in the Jamie Carragher spitting incident have called on Sky not to sack the football analyst. They said the former Liverpool defender had personally contacted the family to apologise and had shown genuine remorse for his actions. The 40-year-old spat at the car where the young Manchester United fan was travelling in following a brief verbal exchange with the teenager's father after his former club lost 2-1 to the Red Devils at Old Trafford on Saturday.