If asked which of the Tottenham squad was most likely to get caught drink driving, Hugo Lloris wouldn't be on the list of potential suspects. Even if you listed off the complete club staff from top to bottom, you'd be forgiven for forgetting to mention Lloris.
Quiet and understated, yet authoritative and well-respected, the Tottenham captain has been the epitome of how to behave throughout his career. Not once drawn into any controversy and a model professional, Lloris finds himself in an unfamiliar situation this afternoon.
The 31-year-old was arrested for drink driving in the early hours of Friday morning, caught after police pulled him over during a routine check in Gloucester Palace, the Metropolitan Police have said. Released on bail, Lloris is now due at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 11th.
One mistake, however, has the potential to undermine a career worth of professionalism. And drink driving is an extraordinarily serious offence that could lead to life-threatening consequences, not just to Lloris himself, but to those around him at the time.
Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Utterly reckless behaviour, it's something football has seemingly suppressed in the past. Wayne Rooney, for example, was let off with a £170 fine — a fee earned every 12 minutes of his reported contract while at Everton — a two-year driving ban and 100 hours of unpaid community work, despite pleading guilty to being three times the legal alcohol limit with his pregnant wife and three children in the car in September 2017.
Instead of serving a 21-month prison sentence, moreover, Marcos Alonso was instead given a €61,000 fine and a ban when convicted of driving a car that collided with a wall, killing a passenger, with a blood alcohol level of 0.93mg per millilitre of blood. He's still playing football at Chelsea seven years later, earning the equivalent of — if not more than — the initial fine on a weekly basis. Frankly, that doesn't seem like fair punishment for a suspected negligent homicide, does it?
That's not to say Lloris should be locked up behind bars with the key thrown away, but it's another example of a footballer accused of abusing his privilege, most probably facing minimal consequences. He should be punished accordingly.
Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
The club will do well not to tolerate such behaviour and it's encouraging that a scroll through Twitter shows that fans, putting club loyalties aside, aren't apologists for the situation and recognise foolishness when they see it.
It's up to those at Westminster Magistrates' Court to issue the Frenchman with a punishment befitting what the law dictates, but from a footballing perspective, Lloris should miss out against Manchester United on Monday, and every game until this situation is resolved in court.
It leaves the club in a difficult situation — their hand forced into playing Michel Vorm — while it completely undermines Mauricio Pochettino's trust in his captain, and Lloris' perception as a role model for the rest of the team.
There are arguably players already more worthy of the captaincy — such as Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane, both of which have greater on-field presences than Lloris — and it's both completely justified and warranted to strip the Frenchman of the armband. A player committing such acts of negligence is neither a worthy captain nor an adequate representative of the club.