So often we focus on the negative side to football such as diving, player’s feigning injury, poor refereeing decisions, abuse, and the list goes on and on.
Against all the black marks football has experienced, moments of good sportsmanship have been shunted into the background. So much so that Paolo Di Canio’s infamous sporting gesture when he caught the ball in front of an open goal during West Ham’s match at Everton – an event which happened back in 2000 – is still used as a prime main example of recent good deeds in modern football.
It’s unlikely that Franco Brienza will ever reach the same levels of appreciation as Di Canio, yet the Palermo striker should nevertheless be credited for his behaviour during his side’s last fixture with Reggina.
Looking to collect a flick on, turn the defence and bear down on goal, Brienza realised as he broke free that his fellow teammate Federico Balzaretti together with Reggina’s Bernardo Corradi were prostrated on the floor after clashing heads in the build up. Without the referee blowing his whistle, and faced with a goalscoring opportunity, Brienza chose to let the ball run out of play so that the players could get treatment.
Good stories don’t come around too often, so Brienza’s moment of fair play (which can be seen here) should be pointed out and saluted.