Martin Keown has said that during the Invincibles era ‘a few players’ would have grabbed Mesut Ozil by the throat because of his body language – this is not OK.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal walks past Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal after being substituted off during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on March 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal walks past Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal after being substituted off during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on March 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

It’s hilarious, isn’t it?

The thought of bigger and stronger men, who think they are the arbiters of what is acceptable when it comes to how people present themselves, teaching the shy boy a lesson.

Nevermind that Mesut Ozil has consistently delivered during his time at Arsenal in terms of assists and chances created (he has still created more chances than anyone else under Unai Emery despite never being played). No, his body language doesn’t fit with what we see as ‘normal,’ so let’s grab him by the throat. Or just even threaten to. That’ll get the message through.

Really?

The only message that sends is ‘if you don’t do what I want, the way I want it, I’m going to hurt you.’

This is not OK.

I was grabbed by the throat once and shoved against a wall. The ‘whys’ are not important, but in case it matters to you, I’d said something a man almost a foot taller than me didn’t like and, while still wearing a motorcycle helmet, he grabbed my by the throat and squeezed as he slammed me into a wall.

I hadn’t even said anything offensive or abusive, he just didn’t like what I’d said and that was his reaction.

Mine was to go to the police, make sure he was charged and watch in court as he was convicted of assault.

Assault is not OK. Even in a dressing room, although for some reason different laws seem to apply in there.

Grabbing someone by the throat is not OK.

Ex-Arsenal players using this kind of language is not OK, even if it’s just a ‘figure of speech’ as some want to claim.

As I made this point on Twitter, I was also told I was ‘intentionally misinterpreting’ Keown’s comments. I was ignoring ‘context.’ Really?

Let’s look at what Keown said – “To be honest, I think if he was in our dressing room a few players would have had him around the throat early on because of his body language.”

‘To be honest’.

What context am I missing?

Is the intention of his words not to convey that Ozil’s actions are unacceptable and that the way to get this through to him is with a hand around the throat? Or, at the very least, to intimidate him in some way?

He said it in English, so there is no translation issue.

His comments are pretty clear. Crystal, even.

They are the words of a bully, the thoughts of a man incapable of processing the differences in others and someone who believes that if a person doesn’t behave in the way he expects then it is acceptable to react with agression.

This. Is. Not. OK.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.