Neil Humphreys: Everton should dump Covid clown
Fine not enough after Kean's dangerous behaviour
There has to be a line that cannot be crossed. It’s usually marked “global pandemic”.
Moise Kean didn’t just cross that line. He bounced across it with a couple of lap dancers and hosted a party during the Covid-19 lockdown.
He should be bounced out of the English Premier League.
As it stands, the Everton striker faces a fine of £160,000 (S$280,000) – or two weeks' salary – for his act of incalculable stupidity. The fine is the maximum sanction available to the club, but it doesn’t suffice here.
It’s not even an applicable punishment. How do Kean’s employers apply a figure to an indiscretion of such magnitude? What price life?
No one died at Kean’s party, obviously, but the health implications for hosting a party of friends and strangers are impossible to measure or quantify. But they exist nonetheless.
As the most infectious virus in a century maintains its grip, particularly on the UK, Kean’s dumb behaviour doesn’t allow him to play dumb. He’s 20-years-old, but he’s not a child. He knows why he’s currently in isolation.
People are dying all around him in Everton’s vulnerable, working-class community. His party potentially put additional lives at risk.
Kean also committed a crime. The Italian’s house party was in direct defiance of the British Government’s lockdown restrictions. Even his timing was awful.
While Everton investigate the leaked video footage of Kean’s party, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to office after almost succumbing to Covid-19. He urges Brits to “contain your impatience” as cabin fever takes hold.
Lockdowns are undoubtedly tedious. Circuit breakers are dull. The names change, but the dullness remains. And yet, we mostly behave. We endure because we are all aware now of the unspeakable alternative.
Six months after the pandemic began in Wuhan, scientists are at a loss to adequately explain how the coronavirus is killing so many people. Covid-19 attacks nearly every major organ and there are still no drugs to treat the disease.
This is a broken record that we tire of hearing, but it’s the reason why many of you are wearing a mask while you're outdoors.
Everyone understands the horrifying threat. No one can feign ignorance, not even a 20-year-old Italian striker living on Merseyside.
And yet, his age, his foreign status and his boredom are being touted on social media as a defence for the indefensible. Kean is young, daft and loves a party and a lap dance. Who didn’t at his age? We’ve all done it, right?
Do you remember that time when, in the middle of a global pandemic and a government-ordered lockdown, you hired a couple of lap dancers and captioned a photo that read “quarantine clean”?
Do you recall that occasion when you filled your house with strangers while an infectious disease killed thousands in your community?
No? Oh well, it must just be Moise Kean then.
But his supporters are insisting that he isn’t the only guilty offender, citing the names of Jack Grealish and Kyle Walker to present an EPL rogue’s gallery of lockdown crooks.
Such "whataboutery" is exasperating in its infantile justification of errant behaviour at the best of times. Just mention “Saudi Arabia” and “sportswashing” to any Newcastle fan and watch them spit out “Manchester City” and “Paris Saint-Germain” in a Russian roulette game of dodgy club owners.
But the "whataboutery" doesn’t even hold up in Kean’s case.
Grealish’s party antics were no less idiotic, but the difference between the Aston Villa midfielder and the Everton striker is almost a month and 20,000 UK deaths.
When Grealish attended a party, Covid-19’s first wave had only just hit British shores. When Kean hosted his party, Britain was on its way to one of the highest death tolls in the world.
Kean literally knew better.
His insensitive antics will be especially disquieting in the deprived areas of Liverpool, where demands on food banks are increasing daily. His club’s "Everton in the Community" initiative has already donated thousands to those most at risk.
Kean’s fine is expected to be donated to the cause, but two weeks' salary is unlikely to pacify local Covid-19 victims.
Everton may do the decent thing in an indecent time and cut their losses on a £24m striker with just one goal in 26 appearances. (Football considerations should not apply here, but of course they will.)
With Napoli reportedly interested in Kean’s services, the Toffees should jump at the opportunity to sever ties and put the objectionable episode behind them.
No one will throw a party for Kean when he leaves.