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Nahki’s shirt message a heartfelt tribute

When Nahki Wells calmly slotted home the goal which sent the Bradford City fans into a frenzy in Tuesday night's memorable win over AstonVilla, they probably couldn't have cared less about the lifting of his jersey which read ' RIP Tumaini Steede.'

After all, the name made little to them.

Here in Bermuda it might have been the opposite. His friends will have been delighted he found the net against one of the most storied clubs in English football but they will have been more proud that he paid tribute to his late pal, a fellow footballer with Devonshire Cougars, who was killed in a road accident.

That goal was watched by millions on TV, hundreds here in Bermuda, but in a moment that he may cherish for the rest of his career, he used those few seconds not to celebrate but show Bermuda he hadn't forgotten his roots or the friends who have helped shape his career.

It was a touch of class that his fans might remember more than the night he and his City team-mates pulled off one of English football's biggest upsets.

Goalscorers lifting their jersey, often with some imbecilic message, has become something of a trend.

Manchester City's Italian rebel Mario Balotelli might have ignited it with his infamous 'Why always me', referring to the media bashing to which he's been subjected, much of it deserved, since he arrived in England.

Last Saturday, Fulham's's extraordinarily talented Dimitar Berbatov practically ridiculed his team-mates when he revealed the words 'Keep calm and pass me the ball', as if nobody else in the side mattered.

It would be interesting to know whether his boss or his team-mates were aware of his condescending 'joke' before he stepped onto the pitch. If they didn't, one would imagine they had something say when the game finished.

The daft dances players perform after a goal have become irritating and the shirt messages, for the most part, fall into the same category.

But it was nice to see Nahki reveal a heartfelt tribute that meant an awful lot more to him and those here in Bermuda than it did to anyone else.

As for the 22-year-old Bermudian's performance, it will have brought back memories for the older generation here of when Clyde Best and Shaun Goater were at their peak, mesmerising defenders and lighting up the TV screens.

Wells has still some way to go match their fame but he's certainly moving into the right direction.

Should the Bantams beat Villa in the second leg in two weeks' time and that's still a tall order and become the first team from the fourth tier in more than a half a century to play in a final at Wembley in a major competition then he'll already have achieved something that neither Best nor Goater could put on their list of career accomplishments.

Best's biggest regret was that he was left on the bench when West Ham reached the FA Cup final in the 1970s and Goater's appearance for Rotherham in the relatively minor Auto Windscreens final pales in comparison to his legendary strikes for Manchester City against rivals United.

Already Wells has been in a team that has beaten three Premier League teams in succession.

Not a bad start for any youngster's career.

* * * *

WHERE does political correctness begin and where does it stop?

It's an increasing topic of conversation these days. And it's a subject that TV commentators consistently have to grapple with.

This week two appear to have fallen foul of whatever guidelines exist . . . at least according to the over cautious, and sometimes too timid, TV network bosses who are frightened to offend anyone.

ESPN's Jon Champion, watching a repeat of the Luis Suarez goal that he palmed into the net which denied Liverpool's opponents Mansfield Town a chance of advancing to the next round of the FA Cup, said: 'I'm afraid that was the work of a cheat."

Whether it bordered on cheating is debatable, but it was certainly unsporting.

Whatever the case, the comment resulted in a reprimand delivered by his director.

Commentate but don't express an opinion is seemingly the current policy.

Yet voicing an opinion is part of the job.

Did a player deserve a red card or a yellow, was the tackle too strong or legitimate, should a player have passed or shot?

So why not an opinion on the controversial Suarez goal.

On this side of the Atlantic the most baffling slap of the wrist was that received by veteran college football commentator Brent Musburger.

The 73-year-old, looking on as the camera zoomed in on Miss Alabama Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of quarterback AJ McCarron, remarked “I'm telling you quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women.''

It was considered so offensive he was forced to apologise.

Presumably if he said she wasn't particularly attractive, that would have been fine.


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Published January 11, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm)

Nahki’s shirt message a heartfelt tribute

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