I read about, then watched, Joe Cole's red card against Arsenal and was confused. Yes, it was a clumsy tackle. Yes, it was a foul. But a red card? Seemed a bit much for me. Then I read the post Why Joe Cole’s Red Card Against Arsenal Was Harsh from the good folks at EPL Talk. I was nodding my head in agreement until I came to this piece of the article:
If Cole had gone into that tackle specifically to break the fellas legs, he would have had the same punishment. That does not seem fair.
Then, I thought back to my days of being a fervent follower of hockey. The golden rule (or one of them) in hockey is that you are responsible for your stick - it doesn't matter if it accidentally clipped your opponent in the mouth. Accident or not, you are responsible. Argue all you want, you are responsible.
In this case, Joe Cole is responsible for his tackle. It's not about intent, or what may or may not have happened. He went into the tackle, well-aware of what the outcome may or may not be.
I would agree with another passage in the article:
Tackling must still be allowed and it must be recognized that some tackles, while well-intentioned, go wrong. These are not red card offences in themselves.
However true, the tackler must be smart about his actions. That's what separates the sometimes-good tackles to the always-productive tackles.
He must be responsible for his own stick.
By the way, I just picked up reading the EPL Talk posts recently, and am trying to get their podcasts into the rotation. Good stuff. And thanks to Roger for turning me on to PremTube.com.