For most people, a £50,000 fine and 20-month driving ban would be a severe penalty for drink-driving.
Hugo Lloris is not most people. He is the Tottenham and France goalkeeper and captain, who in July lifted the World Cup on behalf of his nation. He is Tottenham’s best-paid players on a salary in the region of £120,000 a week (plus bonuses and endorsements). He is also, by all accounts, extremely likeable.
When stopped by central London police at 2am one night this summer, Lloris was over twice the drink-drive limit. He had swerved towards parked cars, and run a red light with a passenger and vomit in his car. He had been “showered with drinks” in a restaurant and made the mistake of deciding to drive after a taxi cancelled. He was lucky that his drunkenness did not result in injuries to anyone.
But is a footballer’s crime worse than a crime committed by you or I? Should role models like Lloris be held to a higher standard?
I have witnessed the horror drinking can wreak. I also like a glass of wine with my meals. Not driving over the limit is an absolute rule: my personal choice, influenced both by law and personal morality.
It’s irrelevant that I’m not a role model to anyone beyond – arguably – my daughters. Nor do I earn anything like Lloris’ salary. Who does?
Lloris, who has been fined £250,000 by Tottenham, and £50,000 by the court, was prepared to “accept any punishment”.
In some walks of life, he would automatically lose his job. A one-off drink-drive moment does not inhibit Lloris’s long-term ability to keep goal, but does he lose some of moral authority via the crime?
Lloris was lucky that his drunkenness did not result in injuries to anyone
It is difficult in Lloris’ case to envisage a financial penalty that would actually hurt. The most telling punishment would be to strip him of his captaincy – something the club has chosen not to do. The most meaningful act would be volunteering to step down.
It is difficult to escape the feeling that despite the huge fine, there is little evidence that, nice guy or not, Lloris’ punishment is commensurate with his crime.
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