Image from Repubblica.it
In the heat of the moment, perhaps, it was understandable. A club dragged into the unexpected pressure of a relegation dogfight and a player with just one goal in about 15 hours of football. Maybe none of us would have done the decent thing.
And yet, at a club which launched its Cartellino Viola - Purple Card - to honour acts of sportsmanship, it would have been a nice gesture. Fiorentina’s Brazilian hitman Amauri scored with his hand on Wednesday night and the goal was, eventually, rightly disallowed. But he appeared to make no gesture to admit his guilt.
An early hand in the air to apologise for an instinctive act would have been admirable. He was quickly submerged by celebrating team-mates but that is only a limited excuse. There was time, if he had wanted, to confess to his infringement against his old team Palermo.
Up in the Sky Italia commentary box, Angelo Di Livio, the Viola’s little soldier of yesteryear, was in little doubt. It was, he opined, “un brutto gesto” - a bad gesture. A poor example to players desperately trying to change the image of Italian football as being all about gamesmanship, cynicism and “furbizia” (slyness or sneakiness, if you will).
What cast Amauri into an even poorer light were the actions of visiting goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano in the first half of the game. The Palermo shot-stopper admitted he had got a hand to a Manuel Pasqual strike and told the referee to give a corner. It earned him a rousing reception from the Curva Fiesole - where he used to stand as a boy - at half-time.
Of course, giving the opposition a corner is a little different from ruling out a goal. In addition, Viviano’s emotional links to Fiorentina are well-known. However, he was under no illusions they would have been used against him if his admission had ended up harming his current team. “If Fiorentina had scored from it, they would have killed me,” he said at half-time.
That’s why he deserves this month’s Cartellino Viola and Amauri has earned a rebuke. He received a yellow card but, if the club takes its moral stance seriously, they should take some kind of action too. There were extenuating circumstances, but he had the time to take a little step towards cleaning up Calcio’s image. Instead, as has been pretty much the story of his season, it was another chance missed.