Claiming Callum Robinson has 'silenced his critics' with goals misses the point 1 week ago

Claiming Callum Robinson has 'silenced his critics' with goals misses the point

The Ireland forward says he has taken a personal choice, but has not considered the wider team or picture.

Callum Robinson is one of Ireland's top players. Top eight, top six, top four. That depends on how you view it, but he is one of the best we have.

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One only needed to see how he operated against Azerbaijan to know that. He may have only scored one international goal before Saturday, but he has often been one of Ireland's bright spots on dark days and in dank performances [under this management team and the last].

He scored two goals that propelled Ireland to victory in Baku and made us all feel a little better about ourselves. It was what made it even more frustrating that he has missed a clutch of big games after twice testing positive for Covid-19.

Robinson was in good health and passing all his tests ahead of the latest international window and explained to the press, last week, why he is refusing to take the Covid vaccine. It was a personal choice, he said, and he hoped people would respect his choice.

The major issue here, as Covid has proved over the past 21 months, is that it highly contagious, and much more so than the less impactful flu virus. Robinson may say he is willing to take the risk of getting Covid again, but he is clearly not thinking beyond himself.

If he carries the virus, as he has done twice already, it increases the risk of passing it on to others. So many sportspeople stress team-first in interviews but not getting vaccinated, and putting others in the team as well as backroom staff and - by extension - their family members at risk, is anything but team-first.

Ireland's Euro 2020 and World Cup qualifying hopes were both badly damaged by players being ruled out by positive Covid tests and being identified as close contacts. Covid has clearly impacted on this team, but Robinson is happy to roll the dice.

Only seven Premier League teams have over 50% of their players fully vaccinated, so Robinson is not exactly in a considerable minority. If Stephen Kenny and the FAI are happy to have him involved, even with his assertions, then it is on them. It may not be a great look but it is one they are comfortable with.

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The line [and headlines] that rankle, though, after the Azerbaijan win are that Robinson's goals have somehow silenced the critics.

This claim misses the point and is dumb. How does a player scoring a goal silence those that feel Robinson is putting others at risk by not getting vaccinated? Does a second goal somehow make the science around Covid, and how it is transmitted, invalid?

It is like claiming that Albert Einstein's theory of relativity made him a good skier. They are not related.

Callum Robinson celebrates after scoring his second goal against Azerbaijan at the Olympic Stadium in Baku. (Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile)
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And if you think that Robinson's brace will silence the critics, you don't get the game.

Joe Duffy, who made a crass Covid remark about Robinson last week, is not going to be silenced any time soon. The other critics, who are basing their criticism on science and looking out for others, are not going away either.

We live in a world of instant adulation and instant criticism. It is there in front of your eyes and only a swipe or two away. That Robinson's goals made his decision correct was one of the misfiring theories doing the rounds on Saturday night.

The West Brom attacker was on the receiving end for a few days, last week. He was the hero on Saturday but life goes on and he is sticking to his guns on not getting vaccinated.

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In my view, if there is not a pre-existing medical reason not to get vaccinated, he has made the wrong call.

By making the call, he has opened himself up to criticism. A couple of goals won't make the wider world go away.


 

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