A Manchester judge felt moved to criticise the recent behaviour of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez when sentencing a man who assaulted his partner last week.
Graham Trelfa threw a TV remote in his partner’s eye, and then hurled her to the floor, after seeing Suarez refuse a handshake from Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
Stating that a TV spat between footballers “can affect the behaviour of many”, Judge Jonathan Taaffe told Trelfa:
“The actions of Mr Suarez were at best ill-considered and at worst the actions of a petulant individual who behaved like a spoilt child and brought contempt on both his club and the many professional footballers who conduct themselves properly week-in, week-out.”
Blending football analysis with socio-political commentary in a style reminiscent of Match of The Day greats like Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson, Taaffe continued:
“It’s undoubtedly the case that the actions of a so-called role model can affect the behaviour of many and the need to act responsibly both on and off the field as they hold privileged position and are idolised by many.”
Thankfully for his judicial career, Taaffe had previously made it clear that he accepted Suarez wasn’t directly responsible for Trelfa’s assault, as the defendant had argued.
Taaffe gave Trelfa – who received a caution in 2008 for a similar offence – a 12-month community order.