Ah. Chris Froome missed out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Did it come as a surprise? Unfortunately in the week leading up to one of the most important sports awards of the year, the cyclist had a bad week in the press, savaged for his use of medicine in his sport … and the BBC of course could not risk giving him that kind of prestigious award under that kind of ominous cloud.
So Mo Farah got it instead.
Rewind back to 2016 in Leicester City’s magical season where they emerged champions. When the short list for the PFA Footballer of the Year was announced, it looked like this:
Given that three of the six nominees were from Leicester’s team, it was a sure sign that one of them would win it.
But which one? If defense is your thing, then you would have voted Konte, now protecting the back four at Chelsea. But surely the award seemed destined for Jamie Vardy, in a fairy tale era where an Englishman set scoring records by scoring in consecutive matches and breaking the record long held by Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy.
BBC. English corporation. English talent. Jamie Vardy. You might argue that Harry Kane was also in the running, but if you read the signs well, Leicester’s incredible season was not going to be overlooked. Harry Kane winning it over the three Leicester men? Unlikely.
Vardy seemed a shoo-in for the award, of which the ceremony was to be held on 24 April 2016.
Unfortunately for Vardy, in a match against West Ham on 17 April 2016, he was sent off. Not just sent off, but sent off for a theatrical dive with the intention to deceive the referee. He basically ran over his opponent’s outstretched leg and did his famous half-twist in mid-air. If you watch him now, he’s still doing it on the pitch. He must have had a lot of practice at that, the form’s almost always the same.
Vardy’s red card at a time the FA was trying to crack down on diving meant that it was impossible that he would receive the award. His subsequent protest and disrespect for the referee meant that if he were won the award, the FA would be endorsing a whole generation of disrespect towards referees.
So Vardy’s great season was undone by that one game close to that award. It went to Mahrez instead.
Mo Salah won the recent African Footballer of the Year and impressed in the games leading up to it. But one wonders if he had slipped up in the run-up, whether he would have received it.
And Sadio Mane? While he may have been on the shortlist for the December announcement, he wouldn’t have been remembered for his outstanding play. It would have been remembered for the souvenir he gave to Man City keeper Ederson earlier in the season.
The lesson here? If you are nominated for any award, don’t do anything silly in the process.