I was on the bike last Friday night, tearing along Jalan KH. Mas Mansyur and past the Citywalk Plaza, and there, on the left hand side of the street, this huge billboard comes into view:
It’s MU ace, Rio Ferdinand, flogging fags!
Naturally I’m left dumbstruck by the incredulity of an English footballer promoting the sale of cancer sticks in such a brazen fashion and slam on the brakes to bring the 180kg Japanese-made machine to a screeching halt.
Back in Blighty of course, the war on cigarette smoking goes on, and the British government has even drafted a new law which will require cigarettes of all brands to be sold in plain packaging.
So why would a famous English footballer, a role model to little kids in England and even around the world, be willing to give his endorsement to a habit that doesn’t exactly promote good health and sporting achievement?
Well, there are two possibilities.
The first is that Rio (and presumably MU) takes the highly contentious and contrarian view that smoking ain’t actually that bad for you. As politically incorrect as this theory may sound it ain’t without some merit. Many great footballers have been smokers, including Gerson, “the generalissimo of Brazil's 1970 World Cup winning team’ who “was a three packets a day man” and “at the end of each half of a game would have a member of the Brazilian coaching staff waiting on the touchline with a lit cigarette”. ***Pics of famous football smokers here***
And the second possibility?
Well, simply that neither Rio nor MU is aware of what is going on. I think I know which is more likely.
What about you?
Among Indonesia’s famous youth