Richard Keogh: Villain or Victim?

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, former Derby central defender and captain Richard Keogh was involved in a drink-driving accident last month that ultimately lead to his release from the Rams, as well as a career threatening injury.

Derby manager, Philip Cocu, lead his team on a chemistry-building night out. His squad enjoyed a restricted number of drinks before being taken home by cars that had been provided by the club. However, three of his players: Tom Lawrence, Mason Bennett and Richard Keogh, decided that the night was still young. The trio continued partying and drinking until around midnight. It was believed Keogh had passed out on the back seat of Mason Bennett’s car after one too many drinks. His teammate decided to drive home. The crash involved Lawrence’s car crashing into the back of Bennett’s which ultimately lead to Keogh’s injury. The pair then continued driving about before clattering into a street-side lamppost.

In court, both Lawrence and Bennett pleaded guilty to drink driving, as well as fleeing the scene of the crime, which landed them a 12-month community order, a 2 year driving ban and 6 weeks of unpaid work from their club. Keogh had his contract terminated by The Rams after refusing to accept a pay-cut since the incident. Therefore, it has opened up much debate as to whether the respective punishments were too harsh, or lenient.

The Cause

Let’s start with the idiots. Lawrence and Bennett avoided prison after they pleaded guilty to both charges. I believe their punishment was too lenient, however, I’m not suggesting they should have been sent to prison. I do think a footballing ban would have been more sufficient. The judge described them as ‘intelligent and talented young men’, which I think shows their punishment was reduced due to their profession, which is wrong. Derby also need some criticism; only fining them six weeks wages is somewhat embarrassing considering the same crime can land any ordinary person time behind bars. I think their lack of discipline humiliates Derby County as a brand.

Now onto Keogh, where there are clearly two sides to this argument. First of all, with Keogh being sacked, it makes people wonder. Why weren’t the other clowns sacked? Especially considering it was not Keogh who was driving. Why has he received a larger punishment from the club than Bennett and Lawrence? Meaning you can’t help but think the club only fired Richard Keogh because he is 33 and has now sustained a career-threatening injury, along with the fact he had 2 years remaining on his deal which was worth 1.3 million pounds.

This suggests they solely released him to save money. Despite these points, Keogh also has to take some responsibility, and I was baffled when I heard the news that he had rejected a reduced contract. The injury is his own fault, staying out drinking when instructed to go home, and getting into the back of his drunk teammates car, what right does he have to reject a reduced contract? None.

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About Sam Corker 14 Articles
A player for the history books.

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