There have been numerous instances in the past when footballers have opted for varied controversial celebrations after having scored a goal. In 2013, Greek midfielder Giorgos Katidis pulled out a n*zi salute after scoring a goal for AEK Athens.
A year later, Edinson Cavani pulled out a ‘sniper’ celebration after scoring for PSG for which he was yellow carded. Having gone up to the referee to complain against the booking, Cavani received another yellow and got his marching orders.
Guns celebrations are a popular celebration choice amongst footballers even going as far back as Ronaldinho’s peak playing years. The latest edition came during Wednesday’s Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Manchester United when Joao Felix opted for the gun gesture after putting the Spanish side ahead in the first half.
I’m here for that joao felix celebration. Man said… pic.twitter.com/zTYm5XW3QP— Jawn The Baptist 🇯🇲 (@OlDirtyBabyface) February 23, 2022
Although Felix didn’t receive a caution from Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan however, it is a risky celebration to opt for as demonstrated by Edinson Cavani.
Apart from the immediate issue of putting one’s team in danger with such an action, it should also be asked if footballers should opt for such celebrations that condone violence. According to Amnesty International, more than 500 people die every day across the globe due to gun violence.
As a large proportion of minors have footballers as their idols, the last thing they would want to encounter would be an endorsement of such a widespread crime from their favourite stars.
Thus, perhaps the footballing community needs a reminder on the players carrying a sense of moral responsibility as icons of the game before someone considers pulling out the gun gesture the next time.