Everton midfielder Ross Barkley may have simply been out looking to celebrate a 4-2 win over Leicester City on Sunday. Instead, he was punched in the face by another patron at a bar in Liverpool, and now everybody is trying to find out if it really was an unprovoked attack.
The closed-circuit security footage making the rounds on the Internet show Barkley and another man seeming to have a conversation, with Barkley placing his left hand on the man’s shoulder. At the same time, the man is seen making a fist in his right hand, and seconds later that fist connects with the face of Barkley not once, but twice. Barkley falls back as a result and the punching man is then held back by another person coming in to intervene.
According to Barkley’s lawyer, the Everton midfielder was the victim of an unprovoked attack. The team has not issued a comment about the incident, but it should be expected they are working to gather as much information as possible about it. The last thing they want is a player getting decked when away from the pitch, and they have a vested interest in making sure this really was an unprovoked attack and not something stirred up in any part by Barkley. No complaint has been made to the police at this time either, according to BBC.
Athletes getting in trouble at bars in opposing territory is nothing new, of course. Just last week we were focused on a situation at an Alabama bar where former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was confronted by some Alabama fans and asked to leave the bar by those same fans (not the bar management). Watson decided to leave on his own, choosing not to be hassled by some sore losers in Tuscaloosa. Last year also saw Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy involved in a bar fight with off-duty police officers in Philadelphia, a story that continues to linger in the headlines to this day.
Athletes and bars tends to not be a great combination a fraction of the time, but even that small percentage of the time is good enough to be used as an example of the ramifications of going out and trying to enjoy yourself in your downtime. It comes with the territory, supposedly.