Sometimes harmful collisions happen in football where it is possible to mitigate the responsibility of the aggressor. This is not one of those cases.
Joey Barton has found himself in the media glare this Thursday after thumping Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen in an unprovoked attack. The incident arose during the Magpies 2-1 defeat to Rovers, happening moments after Andy Carroll had equalised for the Toon.
Barton's assault appears indefensible. After only brushing shoulders with Pedersen, following a stoppage in play called by referee Mike Jones, Barton reacted overzealously, angrily whacking Pedersen square-on in the chest causing the winger to hit the turf.
Fortunately for Barton, ref Jones' back was turned at the time and he managed to escape any on-field punishment. The use of video evidence and the sharp rebuke of pundit Lee Dixon on Match of the Day however mean that an FA ban looks a nigh on certainty for the Newcastle midfielder.
According to Dixon, "It is really out of order. He said it was a slap. But if that is a slap, I'd hate to see what a punch was."
Footage of Barton's punch on Pederson can be seen below:
As is the way with Barton, as a new incident of violence arises so his long-winded rap-sheet of shame gets another public airing. Barton's on-field problems have a long history.
Last season he was guilty of taking out Xabi Alonso with a brutal foul by the corner flag (see below), while a few years back there was that tackle on Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu during the Tyne-Wear derby. Fast-forwarding to more recent times, just a couple of weeks back Barton attracted trouble after he took out Arsenal duo Craig Eastmond and Cesc Fabregas in a cameo appearance in the Carling Cup.