Profane words have never been much a big deal to me. Much like other supposed "vulgar" expressions - middle fingers, holding up the current score of the match with your two hands, Cesc Fabregas' mullet from back in the day - people love to find insults in the littlest things. We love to feel like we're being conspired against (sometimes, as history's shown us, rightfully so), and one of the easiest ways to do so is to find meanings in gestures and expressions.
The same goes with language. Sometime way before our existence, the general English-speaking population thought up the word "shit", declared its meaning and then decried its vulgarity and its ties to social disconfirmation while casting aside the other reason for language - the freedom of expression (if you've read anything I've ever written, you probably know that I reject almost everything that restricts the ability to say what I want in a particular setting).
However, there are certain boundaries to this. I don't walk into my office and greet my boss with a "Good morning, you spiky-haired penis-hammer!" It's uncouth, given the professional setting I work in and the respect I hold of authority figures (also, I actually like my boss). The same thing, without question, goes for any racial, xenophobic, homophobic and sexist language.
So, while holding a sign up with the beginning lyrics to a popular terrace song might not be the most ludicrous thing in the world, knowing your status, setting, context and influence should dictate whether or not that's a great idea. If you're Santi Cazorla and a fetching lady asks to get a photo with you holding it, you should probably pass.
But he didn't, and here we are talking about it.
According to The Telegraph, the club "have reminded" Cazorla of his duties following the picture that went viral, while the midfielder, who posed in the photo alongside fellow Arsenal legend Robert Pires, claimed he didn't know what was written on the paper and has since apologized for his actions. Meanwhile, life goes on.
Now, do I think this whole idea of a photo with these particular lyrics on them is bad? Absolutely not. But much like Jack Wilshere flipping off the kids of the world at the Etihad and denying them of basic civil liberties and the pursuit of happiness, there's a time and place for it, and holding the sign in front of a camera is about the last thing Santi should be doing at this particular moment.
Social media - especially Twitter and Instagram - has given athletes and fans a closer look into each other's perspective, and it's been a wonderful, voyeuristic tool not otherwise afforded. However, players need to understand the emotions they generate with fans of the sport and how quickly those emotions can escalate if they do or say the wrong thing on social media platforms - this photo being Example A.
Again, what Santi and Pires did was not a terrible thing (unlike this). The setting and context dictated otherwise. If anything, I'm more perturbed that Santi felt the need to try and slide the "I didn't know what was on the paper" excuse past everyone. Come on, man, don't take us for fools.
If this were you or me in the photo, we'd all laugh and move on from it. But we as fans, and society in general, hold athletes to higher, false standards and now it's a bigger deal than it ever should have been. All because of one word that means various sorts of "poop." Which, as we all know, everyone poops.
I guess what we can all be grateful for is that he didn't whip this sign out after scoring his two goals this past Saturday, otherwise the FA would have banned him to Jupiter and back.