I know this is going to be a contentious issue, and I sincerely hope if the article is shared on social media the comments don’t get this post deleted. Please be respectful to Bradley’s family and to me, as I don’t want this piece to result in arguments between fans.
There is a big elephant in the room hanging over everything at the moment, and that is the future of our 2015/16 Player of the Year, Bradley Wood. Sadly, the internet has done what it does best and judged Bradley, the club and the FA in equal measure. Only one of those bodies is to blame for the current lack of information.
Firstly, I’ve seen lots of arguments from people who say we should be allowed to discuss the situation, citing the Moses Swaibu chicken incident as a precedent. Nobody respected Moses and his family after he made away with cooked poultry from a popular supermarket, so why should Bradley be any different?
Did Moses ever walk up and down a queue in freezing weather handing out drinks to fans? Did he ever go around to a kids house for their birthday party, or share a table with sponsors at a money-raising dinner? Did he ever win a Player of the Year, and not just one but all of them? No he didn’t, he wasn’t a positive ambassador for the club in his time, in fact if memory serves me he barely signed an autograph. Whilst both players broke the law I think the circumstances are very different
Secondly, discussing what some bloke told you on the internet is not always legally safe. The FA are conducting an investigation and both the club and the player have been silenced, unless they stand before a court. That is how we found out Brad is currently not with a club and also unable to take offers, through the court this week. There is no indication that is his doing, nor the clubs doing.
What we can discuss is the facts, and the only true facts in this situation are that the FA are investigating something and nobody is allowed to discuss it. That is why the club have said nothing, that is why Brad has said nothing and that is why you should say nothing either. It isn’t either parties fault that we are in the dark over this, it is because there is an investigation on going and it is not lawful for comments to be made. That doesn’t just mean the interested parties, that means you too.
I’m not here to debate whether the player or the club is in the wrong at the moment, it isn’t possible to form an opinion based purely on hearsay and social media nonsense. Rightly or wrongly Brad and his family and friends are on social media and they do read the comments. Some people have said perhaps the family of a player shouldn’t be party to comments and posts on social media, but that is plainly ridiculous. This isn’t Arsenal or Man United, some fans know the players personally and as much as you wish it, any post on social media can find its way back to players.
Consider this: I don’t know Jack Muldoon, and as far as I’m aware he doesn’t pay much attention to Lincoln City Banter. I did an article entitled ‘we need to talk about Jack’, where I discussed him being omitted from the team. He messaged me within half an hour of the post going online to discuss his situation. Trust me, not having the players and their family on these social media pages wouldn’t make the blindest bit of difference. If you write it, they’ll see it. Would you say the stuff you’re writing to their face? How is it fair that you can be judge, jury and executioner from the comfort of a keyboard, and that neither the player nor the club can reply?
To conclude I’m afraid to say we must not speculate until the FA see fit to make a statement that the Imps and Bradley can respond to. Until then despite us living in a society of free speech, it is not justifiable nor appropriate to discuss the matter further.
I hadn’t done an article on his all summer because I felt it inappropriate, not because I live in Bradley’s pocket or because his family might see it, but because I had respect for a player who has served the club well. He put himself out time and again for Lincoln City and it’s fans, and no matter what has happened I believe that should afford him a level of respect until any details emerge.
I know some will say that by writing this I am dragging over hot coals, or simply looking to reignite the debate again. That isn’t the intention, the intention is to try to highlight the pitfalls that the ongoing situation has. I don’t want comments on this, I hope nobody comments at all. I just hope people read it and understand the best thing to do from this minute going forward is respect the player, his family and the club. Every day I see a new ‘what’s happening with Bradley Wood’ post, then it gets removed, then we debate free speech, the same names get indignant on either side of the argument and the post is deleted. The next day it’s the same routine. It’s getting old, let’s talk about Matt Green or the kit or the club shop or anything, anything at all that doesn’t demand the club sign him up or condemn him as a guilty man before anyone knows the alleged offence.
Do I condone the actions that have been reported recently? No, of course not. That I’m not defending the driving offenses and I’m pretty sure neither him nor his family will either. Until any official statements are made though I think it is important to reserve judgement of the player, and of the football club. In due course the fans will find out what has happened, and I mean really happened not what some bloke from the pub heard from his taxi driver.