Thierry Henry’s Handball

Thierry Henry fell from grace an hour ago as he deliberately used his hand to help score a goal for France in the dying minutes of an elimination game against Ireland for World Cup qualification.

Henry has been held in high esteem by many in the soccer world (including me) for his grace, his fairness, and his efforts to fight bigotry in the world game.  However, there is no denying he deliberately used his hand (and forearm) to keep the ball in play before passing it to William Gallas for the winning goal.

I can understand reflex taking over in a situation like this.  However, once the handball happened, it was time for a hero or villain to act.  Henry chose to say nothing, the unfortunately typical human response in such situations.  He had an opportunity to show the world what sportsmanship is.  He failed and, in doing so, further sullied the reputation of this sport.

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8 Responses to Thierry Henry’s Handball

  1. adriannovato November 18, 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    I think he deserves some respect for owning up to it, but it has definitely tarnished his reputation.

    I wrote an article about the incident on my blog, check it out.

  2. Matt November 18, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    That’s interesting. I hadn’t seen his admission. It will be interesting to see what FIFA does with that.

  3. david breen November 19, 2009 at 5:48 am #

    how did he admit to it, first he said it was an accident. Then when confronted with the video which clearly shows it was no accident he replied that he was not the refferee. He better never set foot on irish soil for his own sake!

  4. Bolaji - November 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    Unfortunately in looking at the video, it does not look inadvertent.
    (See video:

    It was obviously not pre-meditated.

    But the ball didn’t just his hand. His palm moved to encompass the ball.

    I still think it was reflex, but it wasn’t inadvertent. He made a bad decision in that split second. He’s human, and I don’t fault him for that.

    But I do hold him responsible for celebrating after the goal was scored, and not owning up to the hand ball on the field.

    The stakes were very high. Own up, and be vilified in France.
    Stay silent, and risk slow motion video footage revealing the truth.

    He probably didn’t anticipate that the moment was caught so clearly on video.

    He has since admitted, but the video is indisputable. So what else could he do? Deny? (See video:

    Unfortunate position to be caught in. But perhaps he could have handled it better. This gets him into one more World Cup… but Ireland will find it hard to ever forgive him… and his reputation may be permanently sullied.

    • Matt November 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

      You summed it perfectly.

  5. Bolaji - November 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    The first link I posted has been removed…

    But I found a better link – Thierry actually spoke to the Irish players after the game.
    Redeems him somewhat in my eyes.

  6. adamellis1985 November 20, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    I totally disagree I’m afraid.I don’t condone cheating whatsoever but we cannot make it the players reponsibility to own up to indiscretions each time things like this happen. Please see my thoughts on the whole situation

    Football is to blame as a sport for not introducing video technlogy for things like this to be avoided.


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