Serge Aurier. The talk of the town. I thought with all the bloggers writing think pieces about our new right-back and why we shouldn't sign him (and tread carefully when doing so), I'd scribble some thoughts down too. I'm feeling left out. So what do I think?
I think everyone needs to chill.
We can't change the past and there is no doubt that Aurier needs to be completely self aware of his new surroundings and not repeat any of the bad boy sh*t he committed at his former club. I'm referring to the incident with the police officer (convicted* for assault) and his abusive homophobic petulance (on team mates and manager) streamed live on social media.
*now downgraded to a fine
I could write about a young man catapulted into the lime-light and how the football life-style can distort a persons reality. How they get consumed with the illusion of entitlement and often perceive themselves as untouchable. Sure, some footballers are so pampered that they don't know how to change a light-bulb whilst others fail regularly to switch on the one in their head.
Here's the thing about mistakes. We all make them and the stigma can impact us in many ways - whether we are rich or poor, famous or average Joe. There is no excuse regardless of the responsibility you have in your work place or social life. If you're a footballer then you're more likely to impact the lives of others by your actions because you're a representative of a club and an entire fanbase. So when you choose to behave in a certain way deemed unacceptable, the cerebral bomb you explode and its aftershock is felt by all that are connected to you by association and team colours. You embarrass yourself and you embarrass us.
I'm not going to delve into the slurs made. Neither am I going to discuss the translation and cultural anomalies some have cited (relating to how words in one language differ in terms of context when compared to another). That's dangerous ground to base an argument on. The point is, they were slurs and they were ugly and disrespectful. His apology was also ambiguously flaky.
And here we are today.
We all make mistakes some more terrible than others. Sure, he has a track record for being a little wild. It's not uncommon. Does he fit into the Spurs and Pochettino mantra? Can he be contained and controlled? Nurtured? Well, we're signing him so I guess he can. Every signing carries an element of risk. Is this one going to be tagged with extra caution because of something that doesn't relate to his on field skills? It already has and to repeat myself, there's reason for it as he will wear our badge.
Football ability wise he ticks all the boxes and might prove to be a far more complete package than Kyle Walker. That's all that should matter. Along with the player displaying sincerity once he dons the Lilywhite shirt. Tottenham is very much a club that is self-aware - from the fans to the people running the business. We don't tolerate certain things as a collective (even if we do bend the rules for ex-legends like King, vdV, Woodgate, Gascoigne etc). We don't tolerate certain language and extreme views even though in the stands some like to playfully chant words tinged with comedy for a cheap laugh that are fundamentally wrong (if spoken in any other social gathering away from football).
We don't tolerate this yet a minority of the fanbase might target some of our own players or other supporters (our own also) and once more hide behind the pretence that they are not seeking to offend. Football has always existed partly in a limbo where it produces stand-up comedy that might leave the people listening and not partaking, uncomfortable or conflicted. Intent here is paramount but again, extremely tricky to argue for and against. When is something offensive? No doubt the delivery Aurier subjected his listeners to when speaking his mind was to offend and hurt. It's a minefield though and I don't intend to walk into it.
The point here is...we're all hypocrites. But for the most part, we're also all honest and don't want anyone (fan or player) acting like a d*ck and embarrassing us. The only opinion that matters should sit with the LGBT and Aurier at some point has to address the past because it's the right thing to do. Draw a line under it and then all of us can move on together. If we're sat here forever talking about past indiscretions we'll never make progress.
As a caveat I'm not saying other opinions (non-LGBT) don't matter. I or others can still fashion a reason why we're not happy with any given topic, regardless of how subjective it is. It's just that as a straight man, it can sometimes be a lot easier to dismiss something that doesn't set out to hurt who you are, directly or indirectly.
Here's the harsh truth of all of this. We'll never really know what he feels. That includes all those things he spouted about his team-mates and his manager and whether he privately still shares that perspective. Whether it was an emotional outburst he regrets or if he honestly doesn't give a f*ck. If it's the latter then perhaps some have the right to worry about the potential for similar outbursts at Spurs. But we have to give him a chance much like you'd expect one if you made a mess of something and wanted to shift onto a new beginning.
It's how he's perceived and how he performs on and off the pitch that will matter most to us.
He could basically just lie about being sorry and we'd never know. So enough with the think pieces (this one excluded yeah). The player and the club should make a first impression that resonates with all of the Spurs community and then we can focus on the football again. After-all, the only reason we don't know what our other players think and feel about all things gender and politics is because they haven't f*cked up and shared it online.