Crystal Palace star Andros Townsend has defended his fellow footballers over recent COVID-19 breaches, insisting the Government hasnt called a third national lockdown ‘because seven players broke coronavirus rules’.
Professional footballers have been blasted for their selfish, idiotic and disgusting behaviour after Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester City players were caught ignoring COVID regulations over the Christmas period.
Tottenham and West Ham condemned the actions of a number of their players after Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Manuel Lanzini were pictured spending the holiday together with their families, despite tier 4 restrictions in London.
The Tottenham trio and West Ham star have been widely condemned for breaking lockdown rules
Man City also expressed their disappointment after news emerged that defender Benjamin Mendy broke the rules by hosting a New Years Eve party with friends at his home.
Footballers have faced plenty of criticism over the past ten months over their apparent disregard for coronavirus regulations, with Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and City defender Kyle Walker among those to also hit the headlines for multiple breaches of lockdown rules.
But Townsend has told talkSPORT its unfair to tar all professional players with the same brush and single them out for criticism, insisting millions of people have done it too.
And he has called for the whole country to pull together and stick to the rules to help get out of this mess.
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Were not in a third national lockdown because seven footballers have breached coronavirus rules, Townsend said on Tuesdays talkSPORT Breakfast.
Millions of us have done it, have breached the rules, for one reason or another and we all must do better.
The Government must also do better. You cant tell your hard working man on that street that you cant see your family over Christmas, but if youve got a bit of money you can fly your family out to Dubai and spend Christmas there, and then come back and not have to self isolate.
We do understand that we, as footballers, are role models and the role we play in society, especially now more than ever in his age of social media.
And I think on the whole weve been good as professional footballers, but were also human as well so we make mistakes.
Andros Townsend defended his fellow pro footballers, insisting they shouldn’t be singled out for criticism over breaking COVID rules
Seven out of 500-plus footballers in the Premier League made a mistake over the Christmas period. The majority did good, have done good and will continue to do good and follow the rules, but unfortunately seven of us did slip up, theyve apologised, admitted what they did was wrong and will hopefully be better because of it.
I think we all have to do better, starting from the Government at the very top, the general public and footballers, we all must do better. Its going to be a collective effort to get out of this mess.
Lengthy bans have been suggested for any footballer caught breaking the rules, following news of a new nationwide lockdown.
A talkSPORT caller on Monday even suggested players should be banned for up to TEN GAMES if they are caught breaching regulations more than once.
But Townsend believes banning players would be a step too far, claiming it would lead to footballers being followed by the press trying to catch them out.
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There were numerous occasions during the first lockdown where players were being followed,” added the Palace ace.
If you introduce punishments that could alter a season, like a three game ban or longer, youre going to get journalists, maybe not the good guys but there are journalists out there who would do that, will go to extra lengths to try and trip up these players.
I know people will say its the players fault, they shouldnt be out there breaking the rules, but there are other ways we can find to punish players instead of going down that route.