It’s the Denmark / Portugal Euro 2012 group game, and striker Nicklas Bendtner has pulled a goal back for Denmark. He ‘celebrates’ by showing us his underwear, which is conveniently covered in the name of a bookmakers logo.
It’s as tacky a celebration as you could wish to see, and unsurprisingly the Dane has been hauled over the coals by the games governing body.
Just what was he thinking of? It matches England wicket-keeper Matt Prior’s behind the stumps mouthing the name of the energy company sponsoring the test cricket at Trent Bridge a few years ago, for lack of class.
It also calls into question, Bendtner’s values. If he has accepted coinage in return for publicizing a bookmaker upon scoring, what kind of mindset would agree to such a deal?
There should only be one thing on his’ mind when he scores. And that is the joy he has given his nation. The office workers; builders; manual labourers; taxi drivers whose enjoyment of life is enhanced by a Denmark win.
These people should be at the forefront of Bendtner’s mind when he represents his country. This is who he is playing for.
But no. It’s all about the dollar; the euro and the yen. It tells us that Bendtner values himself and the opportunity to take money from a sponsor, more than his love of playing for the people of his country.
His mentality probably doesn’t allow him to see that. He will see the ‘celebration’ as harmless. But it sends out a message, that says this is a player who probably plays for Denmark because it enhances his market value.
Of course, one can also look at the coach, to ask questions of the cluture he has created that allows players to think this way. It suggests that this is a Denmark team absent of a greater mission that unites the group. That is the mission of representing Denmark and its people.
When that calibre of mission is in place, players wouldn’t dream of revealing their sponsored underwear when they score. The mission is all that matters. But in the absence of a mission, self-interest holds sway. And yesterday, Nicklas Bendtner showed his true values.