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Did Henry Cheat?

He is one of the most beloved footballers in the world.  We have seen him in magazines, highlight reels, video games, and even an awkward Gillette commercial alongside Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.  But was Thierry Henry’s actions a week ago worth labeling the man a cheater for the rest of his football career?

If you don’t know about the incident it is being compared to the Hand of God goal of the 1980’s.  France facing Ireland in a playoff match last week won the aggregate score by a single goal thanks to a late handball by Henry which setup the leading goal.  It was obvious that Henry intentionally handled the ball a little bit before dishing it to Gallas who put it away in extra time.  Many claim that Henry bended the roles a little bit by the deliberate handling of the ball, but honestly I find the people that actually think Henry is to blame hilarious.  Here’s why.

Tell me about a sport in which athletes don’t try to bend the rules or officiating in their favor?  Phrases like “Whatever IT Takes,” have become a staple of modern day sports.  Have you ever seen A-Rod turn around and tell the umpire that it was actually a strike rather then a ball when up to the plate or would Adrian Peterson explain to the NFL line judge that the ball should actually be spotted two yards back?   Of course not.  Lapses in judgement are all part of these sports so why would it be any different for a non-stop sport like European football?

Does Henry deserve an award for his honesty?  No.  But does he deserve to be labeled a cheater simply because he made the necessary play to put his country in the best position they could be in?  Of course not.

Henry’s reputation as a footballer should not be tarnished due to this scenario.  His reputation as an actor though… 

That’s another story.