Joey Barton, the QPR footballer charged with two acts of violent conduct following his sending-off during his team’s end-of-season game against Manchester City, has won support from someone equally handy at looking after himself - Falkirk MP Eric Joyce.
The controversial midfielder saw red for elbowing Carlos Tevez with the TV cameras also showing him attack Sergio Aguero in the aftermath.
Coaching staff then had to intervene and manhandle him off the pitch to prevent further confrontations with Manchester City players.
Now Joyce, who was forced to quit the Labour Party after being arrested for head-butting a fellow MP in drunken anger, has weighed in, arguing that people are making too big a fuss about it all.
"It’s nauseating, surely?" Joyce wrote on his blog, "Not Barton’s skirmish: professional football is a rough old game, but the elevation of a bit of minor violence during what most fans accept is a contact sport and where nobody got hurt, to crime of the century.
"If people want to be appalled by human violence and its consequences, they should get themselves to the Eastern Congo, where millions have died and continue to die daily at the hands of maniacs with AK47s, their wives and families raped then murdered with machetes on a daily basis.
Joyce added: "I’ll tell you what. If you never want to go and watch a couple of dozen aggressive, supremely talented and justly well-paid athletes fight for your entertainment on a football pitch, then you may have a right to carp.
"But otherwise, extrapolating moral and ethical significance from a football match looks like your life might be a bit shite."
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