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.