It takes a lot for me to get genuinely upset about the state of football these days.
Like it or not, part and parcel of enjoying the escapism that the beautiful game provides, is accepting or more likely, ignoring the various wrongs that infest the sport at the elite level.
Whether it be FIFA corruption, obscene inequality between clubs or working people being priced out of season tickets, being a football fan in 2020 involves far more moral consideration than it should.
Leo Messi has just taken a 70 percent pay cut.— Ben Haines (@benhainess) March 31, 2020
Spurs need to shape up here... pic.twitter.com/DLh8qAN77O
One method of subduing that niggling voice at the back of your head is to explain away all of the game's problems as being part of some complex economic ecosystem - too big for you to change. To big for anyone to change.
To some extent, maybe this is correct. Credit where it's due as well, the increase in morally questionable money being pumped into the sport has undoubtedly driven up standards to an incredible level - both on and off the pitch.
However, this kind of thinking - when all is said and done - is an absolute cop out. Take for instance, Tottenham's recent announcement that it would be using public money to place some of its 550 strong non-playing staff on furlough.
A statement by club chairman Daniel Levy confirmed the news - the same man who received a £3m bonus last year...to go on top of his £4m-a-year salary.
Levy imposed no such measures on the club's playing and coaching staff. Fair enough I suppose. They must have a lot on at the moment.
Also, how can people such as José Mourinho, who reportedly earns a measly £15m per year and received a pay off of just £20m from Manchester United just over a year ago really be expected to survive on just 80% of his salary?
While there are clear complexities regarding long term pay reductions, the Premier League's players and managers silence on the matter of reducing their pay has been deafening and left a sour taste in everyone's mouth.
Why on earth are Spurs' non-playing staff - the ones who keep the club running, often for minimal pay packets - being made to shoulder the burden of the club's reduced income? It's simply not right. Public money should not be being used to bail out multi million pound, non-essential operations such as football clubs.
The excuse offered by the game's amoral executives is that they fear that by tampering with their players' wages they could breach contracts and allow their stars to depart on free transfer.
Gonna be that guy, but if you’re a group of footballers on tens/hundreds of thousands a week and you see non-playing staff at your club being asked to take pay cuts right now and you choose to do nothing, then you should be ashamed of yourselves.— Joe Hales (@joe_hales95) April 1, 2020
This flimsy assertion raises two major questions.
1) Why are owners assuming that all footballers are money-grabbing monsters with no awareness of what's going on in the world?
2) Why haven't the players taken the decision out of their clubs hands by agreeing a voluntarily pay cut?
Oh dear, maybe they are all money-grabbing monsters after all?
The Union Berlin squad - a club who prove that a football club can be run for the benefit of the community - as well as many other sides across Europe took this step almost immediately, after the scale of the crisis became clear. These guys are not even high earners relatively speaking, meaning Premier League players have no excuse for not taking a stand on this.
A similar acquiescence towards economic equality was seen through the embarrassingly low amount of male footballers who signed up tho Juan Mata's Common Goal initiative - in which player donate 1% of their salaries to charitable causes.
Yes, many players do a great deal for charity through their own foundations but is giving up a small percentage of their earnings during an international crisis too much to ask? No, it really isn't and I'm sick of having to explain away their inaction.
The longer players allow this to continue the more damage they do to the game's reputation and the harder they make it for people like us to defend them to all our annoying rugby mates down the pub.
Time to stop making excuses.
It's time to change football for the better and that starts with ensuring that steps like the ones Tottenham have taken do not have to happen again.