Raheem Sterling is a victim of vicious tabloid snobbery
Pictures of the footballer's gun tattoo have led to calls for him to be dropped from the World Cup squad. It's the latest twist in an endless, and bizarre, character assassination
As a metaphor, it is hardly the most subtle. Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has had a tattoo of a M16 assault rifle inked on his right calf. 'I shoot with my right foot, so it has a deeper meaning,' he explained in a statement issued after the Sun splashed with the headline: 'Raheem shoots himself in foot.'
Anti-gun advocates have described the tattoo as 'totally unacceptable' and 'sickening'. The founder of Mothers Against Guns, Lucy Cope, said: 'This tattoo is disgusting. Raheem should hang his head in shame.' With the World Cup barely a couple of weeks away, there have been calls for him to be dropped from the England squad unless he has the tattoo removed, covered, or his leg chopped off. So far, so familiar.
While it would be hard to argue that Sterling's tattoo is the acme of role-modelling body art, the Sun's 'exclusive' is not really about the tattoo, and what it represents. It is more about a vicious tabloid snobbery.
The character assassinations are as endless as they are bizarre. He can't win. He's either too tight (buying clothes from Primark while earning ....
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