Have you ever made a mistake at work that later went on to become the making of you? Perhaps you said something to the boss’s wife at the Christmas party and only found out later on that it was indeed the boss’s wife. Maybe you had an argument with a client over the phone after a particularly boozy lunch and the person in question then went on to become your Head of Department a few months later?
Whatever your foul up, some mistakes present the ideal opportunity for the young and naïve to grow up and become a shining example to all.
International fashion icon and part time professional footballer David Beckham was no exception. The young Manchester United star was sent off in England’s second round match against arch rivals Argentina in the 1998 France world cup.
After being fouled by people’s choice pantomime villain Diego Simeone early in the second half, golden balls reacted petulantly in retaliation and kicked the Argentine in full view of the referee.
The referee swiftly punished Mr. Beckham by showing him the red card leaving England a man down with the game locked at 2-2.
England held on to the draw but ultimately lost the game on penalties.
David Beckham subsequently became a hate figure in the UK and his effigies were burnt outside London pubs as he became vilified wherever he went. The Daily Mirror headline on the day after the match read: “10 Heroic Lions, One Stupid Boy”.
He also received numerous death threats and was voted the 91st worst Briton in Channel Four’s poll of the 100 Worst Britons.
Beckham later revived his international career in dramatic style 3 years later, but the public outrage that was piled upon him at the time was alarming to say the least.
David eventually redeemed himself by scoring a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Argentina in the 2002 World Cup but the incident proved to be the beginning of an, ‘on-off’ relationship with the media.
Speaking to GQ in April 2016, the former soccer superstar said that the controversial booking and ensuing media maelstrom, “was difficult for me as a player, and as a person. But it made me mature very quickly.”
Have a look at the video below and then think back to a time that you may have behaved in a way that was extremely unbecoming of somebody that wants to do well in their chosen career. You can at least be relieved by the fact that it wasn’t front page news the day after or maybe your boss might’ve burned an effigy of you outside a London pub!