Daily Star: Foot-to-ballers Addicted To Games

Could these men be in TERRIBLE trouble?

Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s favourite rent-a-quote anti-gamer Steve Pope has reappeared in the news, this time to announce that professional football players are dangerously addicted to videogames. The “sports psychotherapist”, so far unwilling to provide any evidence for his previous claims, informs the Daily Star (famously accurate on gaming related matters) that players from Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal are all in trouble.

Pope told the Star:

“I have worked with players in the top four clubs of the Premier League, two Championship clubs and my local side, Fleetwood Town. We were travelling with one player who had played a video game for seven hours on the coach. He hadn’t taken any fluids on board and hadn’t eaten. He’d then gone to his room and missed the Friday evening talk and meal. They all seem to love Modern Warfare 2.”

Once again these claims are made without any presented proof, nor any indication whether there were other circumstances affecting the unidentified player, from a bad mood to an alcohol problem. Instead they sit alone as an island of context-free waffle. But then Pope has yet to provide evidence for his claims that two hours of gaming is as bad as a line of cocaine.

The Star’s short article, appearing in the wake of their incredible apology over the Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury debacle, is spectacular. After the headline, “FOOTBALL STARS HOOKED ON VIDEO GAMES“, it begins,

“FOOTBALL stars are so addicted to video games they are wrecking their performances, it was claimed.”

Then in the 145 words that follow, there’s not one mention of either evidence that any player is addicted, beyond staying up late to play. (It’s important to note that no one has ever stayed up late to watch TV, or go to a club.) Although hilariously, the article does include the sentence, after naming three players who have apparently said they enjoy videogames:

“But there is no indication they are among those receiving help or that their game has suffered.”

Which somewhat takes away from the claims made in the headline and opening statement. Being the opposite. A good try by all.


  1. pipman300 says:

    glad to see pope is decided to roll with being the wrong-about-video-games guy.

  2. Rinox says:

    How about they make an article about how a lot of English football stars are addicted to booze? Cause, you know, it’s actually true, and actually affects their game. But God forbid we write anything about that.

    • bleeters says:

      @ Rinox

      Alchohol, smoking and the like are clearly good, wholesome things to be addicted to. So no worries there.

  3. Malcolm says:

    “Man in early twenties with plenty of free time and adequate disposable income plays computer games”. Shocking!

  4. Diziet says:

    If it’s affecting their performance so badly why are they in the top leagues and I suspect at the top of said league.

  5. pakoito says:

    Terry Pratchett quotes FTW

  6. LewieP says:

    I’d be far more concerned about their addiction to football.

    • LewieP says:

      And/or the Daily Star’s readers being addicted to it. Sometimes even buying it every day!

  7. leeder_krenon says:

    they are all addicted to cocaine.

  8. airtekh says:

    Reporter: “I’ve got people in playing videogames shocker!”

    Editor: “What a scoop!”

  9. Collic says:

    I love this stuff. Maybe I should feel outraged (though probably not really, given it’s the daily star), but it’s just all really, really amusing.

  10. Dude says:

    How surprising for kids… hum young men that are paid too much to play ball to learn that they play other games. Shocking, I mean what young 20 something men at the moment doesn’t touch a video game at least once a week. Maybe monks….

    It is really funny to read those headline, when will we see “Football player are paid too much to just play a f***ing game!!!”. That’s what I would like to see.

    • Ian says:

      when will we see “Football player are paid too much to just play a f***ing game!!!”. That’s what I would like to see.

      Probably around the time people start printing articles such as: “Human beings need air to live!”

    • Clovis says:

      How are they paid too much? I assume sports work the same in England as in the US. We pay our athletes a lot of money since they generate a lot of money. Oh, I guess they don’t do anything useful, but what does that have to do with it? I guess if you want a centralized economy where the government can fairly distribute cash to those performing the most important jobs, you can give that a go.

    • KikiJiki says:


      Actually it’s a bit different. As an NHL follower I note that there are salary caps for the franchises as a whole per year. UK Football has none of this, so people are paid hundreds of thousands of pounds per week for an activity that may well bring joy to the hearts of many, but also causes a lot of upset and disgrace with the (seemingly) high incidence of them going off the rails.

      I really don’t understand how anyone can need a sum of tens of thousands of pounds per week to live on.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      ITT: people who don’t understand how Lassez-faire/free market economics work.

  11. Ian says:

    Aha! Video games are the reason I’m not earning £175k a week playing for United!

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I think the fact that you’re not much cop at football might have a lot more to do with it.

      And you pretty much got the whole thing the wrong way round, people who are on £175k a week at Man Utd are playing too much of the video games stuff according to the article.

    • City says:

      Only I have that kind of bank.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I think the fact that you’re not much cop at football might have a lot more to do with it.”

      For a moment there I thought they were talking about English footballers.

  12. Zetetic says:

    Well, if it is true it’s an improvement over the traditional pursuits of sexual violence and alcoholism that I believe make up the majority of the modern game.

  13. Xercies says:

    Maybe going to prison might affect there game a bit more then video games…

  14. Azazel says:

    Mmmmight as well face it you’re addicted to… CRACK

  15. TheApologist says:

    Genuine question – is cocaine bad, assuming it isn’t cut with a load of shit?

    • Arathain says:

      Yeah. Not as bad as heroin, say, but sustained use will cause addiction and a raft of nasty side effects. Check out the Wikipedia article for a good summary.

      From my perspective there’s a reason to avoid the stuff that’s as or more compelling than the destruction of your mind and body. Those who produce and ship cocaine are some of the most evil people on the planet. Thousands of people in northern Mexico, in the past few years alone, have been tortured and killed by drug gangs. Hundreds of thousands live in perpetual fear. Certain parts of the country are beyond the reach of law and order. This is just one country- the pattern is repeated all over the world.

      When you buy hard illegal drugs you are funding individuals and groups who commit the most truly despicable acts we know of short of genocide (and hey, maybe some of the more extreme Afghani jihadists funded by the heroin trade would like to give that a go). Don’t give money to these horrors just so you can get high.

    • Kadayi says:


      I’m no advocate, but all things in moderation. With respect to the inherent evils of the drug trade this is a condition brought about by it’s illegality. For a long time cocaine was perfectly legal (as were opiates) it was only really around 1910 onwards that attitudes changed, though in part largely due to media misrepresentation of the facts.

    • Nick says:

      I tell you what, this crack is really moreish.

    • Arathain says:

      @Kadayi: I’m not sure funding horribly evil drug lords is something to have in moderation. So I don’t think that anyone should purchase any, ever. Your leisure is not worth the expense of others’ lives. *sigh* But I understand that wasn’t really your point.

      I don’t yet know how comfortable I am with legalising hard drugs. I suspect that I am really not, for a number of reasons far outside the scope of this thread. However, if I were to be convinced, the key argument would always be taking their manufacture and distribution into the open, where they can be regulated and taxed.

      For now, however, no truly ethical person should involve themselves in funding the arms and thugs of evil men for their own enjoyment.

      Sorry, done now. Sore point. It’s a truly compelling argument for not buying illegal recreational drugs, and it’s almost never used. There are consequences outside your own mind and body.

    • user@example.com says:

      Kadayi’s point was that with legalisation, you don’t have to fund the evil drug lords who make for such good computer game villains (like Nazis, you don’t have to feel bad after punching them), as more reputable companies can produce drugs whilst paying taxes and being subject to regulatory bodies.

      If the drug trade was only as evil as some parts of the medical industry, it wouldn’t be wonderful, but it would be a whole lot less evil.

    • kaday says:


      Nice to know some people around here understand cause and effect.

  16. Baboonanza says:

    What about all the people addicted to football? Men ruining relationships with their constant need to watch football is a well documented phenomenon, won’t somebody think of the children!

  17. Moth Bones says:

    Yes – excessive use will make you paranoid and irritable. Very excessive use can destroy your septum. I’m pretty sure there are other adverse effects I can’t recall. Also, it tends to make people talk in very loud voices about nonsense. A bit like booze, but at least booze tastes nice.

  18. Moth Bones says:

    I love the phrase ‘foot-to-ball’, it makes me snigger childishly every time.

  19. Mudpig says:

    As Cocaine is dangerous even if not cut with anything, beeing pure you can get an overdose very easy and that will most likely kill you.
    So anything that is fun is possibly addictive, because its fun you might want more of it. That goes for an addiction nowdays? Sad…

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Those crazy dandies! What will they do next? Escort girls, cocaine, each others wives and being shit at the world football championship were all par for the course.

      But this! OUTRAGE. These young millionaires are supposedly role-models to a fictional demographic of bright eyed educated well spoken children who don’t shank each other. Now, they’ll all be playing electronic computer video games.

  20. Riaktion says:

    Whose that in the picture?… They are sporting the halved shirts of the mighty Blackburn Rovers… but don’t recognise the badge….

  21. Frankle says:

    ALMOST completely off topic but is that marios hat that that guy in the centre (goalie?) is wearing?
    Was mario a footie player before he settled down and became a 2 dimensional plumber?

    • Frankle says:

      @Berzee I completely forgot about that game.I played it enough at my friends. It’s scary what I forget some days. You know that saying “you learn something new every day” I’m proabably learning the same thing over and over because i forget it at night.

  22. Lewis says:

    A bit of digging uncovers something interesting. The only psychological qualifications Steve Pope (or Steve Pope BA (Hons) Grad, as he likes to call himself on his website) has are a diploma in Psychotherapy and an advanced certificate in Counselling. The undergraduate degree he so desperately includes in his name in fact has nothing to do with his work. It is a Law degree.

    Interestingly, he seems just as eager to sell his services as a public speaker as he is to cure people’s mental illnesses.

  23. Pijama says:

    Leicester players, addicted to videogames since 1948?

  24. groovymann says:

    My gosh; a person decides to do something entertaining rather than sit bored for seven hours, I am truly disgusted by the attitude that this footballer takes. He surely should have been watching a recording of someone kicking a ball as that would have vastly improved his game; even looking outside would have been better than games. As for the final comment a group of male people aged from 20 to 30 liking Modern Warfare Two this is scandalous material.

  25. Lewis says:

    I’ve got it!

    Steve Pope is a cocaine addict. That’s how he knows that playing games feels the same. And that’s why he’s always talking so much bollocks and mouthing off when anyone challenges him.

    I am a genius.

  26. neems says:

    This is actually good news. Look at it this way – a bunch of video game addicts, who still take the time to not only go outside and play competitive sports, but are so good at it that they are paid ridiculous amounts of money to do so.

    Who cares if they’re video game addicts? Most top flight modern footballers lead very different lives to the stars of yesteryear. A lot of them are quiet, clean living people who because of their lifestyles and their celebrity status are basically unable to do a lot of the things that you and I take for granted.

    Maybe in an ideal world they would use all that spare time to study literature or listen to classical music or something. Back in the real world, when professional athletes aren’t training or indulging in their worrying golf addictions, why not play some computer games?

  27. jon_hill987 says:

    I tell you what wrecks the England teams performance, Roony. Did you notice how they upped their game last night the moment he was not on the pitch? I say leave him out of the squad for the European cup in two years time he clearly fucks things up.

  28. Peter Robinett says:

    Wired had a good article about how Madden has made American football players (yeah, yeah, the other football) much better: link to wired.com

  29. Dawngreeter says:

    I hear some gamers are addicted to football. It’s so sad, their game has suffered a lot.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Gods damnit, that’s already the topic of the next RPS article. And I thought I was being clever :(

      Curse you, RPS!