Scotland’s Sunday Herald reveals erring footballer – but we’re still not supposed to know who he is

Scottish newspaper the Sunday Herald has printed a picture (most of his face anyway) of the star footballer it says is behind the super-injunction concerning model Imogen Thomas.

We, of course, have no idea whether he is or not.

But he still can’t be referred to in England without the offending scribe being reported to the Attorney General for contempt of court by the wizard of the dribble’s enthusiastic lawyers Schillings.

What we can say is that the Attorney General in the coalition government is Dominic Grieve and he must be wishing all this stuff would go away. He is already being asked to rule on the case of a hack cum TV presenter who Tweeted about the aforementioned player (or maybe another one, it’s hard to be sure). This person (we can’t name him either) could be sent to jail for contempt of court.

This whole affair just gets more and more daft.

What’s actually happening is a massive outbreak of civil disobedience in cyberspace via Twitter. People don’t accept that they can’t discuss something freely just because a conspiracy of celebrities and lawyers (including judges) say they can’t.

Former Times editor Simon Jenkins put it rather well in a recent article for the Guardian:

Being hounded by the British press is one of the most unpleasant experiences short of physical assault. It is the tax that a free society imposes on celebrity. In the case of politicians it is an ordeal which they must undergo as the price of office, indeed they must in some degree anticipate it. Those who go into public life must possess a strain of masochism.

When the ordeal is unfair it should be regarded as just one of life’s nasty accidents. When it is disproportionate punishment for a mishap, gaffe, peccadillo or insensitive remark, it is crude accountability. The justification is perhaps that it may compensate for more serious offences that pass unpunished. If we cannot nail a minister for wrecking the economy, at least we can get him for adultery.

Should the same apply to other prominent people, such as footballers?

The crowd-sourced answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes.’

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.