"As a 33-year-old football player, I am fitter than most of the young players in Turkey. That means there is something wrong here," said Emmanuel Adebayor in interview at the beginning of this season with the Hürriyet daily.
It was a clear message to all Turkish football authorities by the Başakşehirspor star, as he later stated more explicitly, "I think this situation stems from the lack of the will to work out."
Honestly, it is quite unusual to hear such statements from a foreign player in Turkey, since almost all of them choose to enjoy this fact rather than complain about it.
Nevertheless, Adebayor is a man of ideals and joy, as it was seen in his happiness after Başakşehirspor's decisive victory against league leaders Galatasaray.
The Togolese star was just as jubilant after his marvelous performance for Başakşehirspor, as he was for when he played for Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham. Nonetheless, his performance and wise words signals a sad fact for all of us, that most of the Turkish players lack a strong work ethic.
Now, we need some etymology and philosophy to understand this situation better. Ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, which means the characteristic spirit of people in a certain time and space. Ethics, which is derived from this characteristic spirit, is the moral principles of a certain person or group.
Now, from a sociological point of view, it is not hard to say that Turkish football players reflect the work ethics of their society, whatever they perceive as the proper behavior in the public, they exemplify it in their daily lives.
This is deeply related with the problems with our education system and parenthood, as Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) values of Turkey in education signifies very clearly. Nevertheless, this is a way too broad topic to cover in a football column.
What I especially want point out in ethics is the character of football, and especially the character of Turkish football. Besides the educational, cultural problems in our society, there is a settled improper work ethic in Turkish football.
The reason why laziness and cunning are two of the strongest motifs in Turkish football is that the institutions of football are designed to benefit from this character, and individuals have no other option but to obey.
If you want to be successful in Turkish football, you have to be a macho, shrewd and violent player who does not voice his opinions against the injustice.
That is why no one dares to challenge the aristocracy of corrupt executives, the moment you criticize them, you are no longer in the business. Even though you are not one of them, you have to act in accordance with them.
That is why the players who see this corruption in the executive branch also implement the same tactic in the dressing rooms. As a young player, I remember being completely alienated from myself and the environment which surrounded me in the football teams.
Almost everyone acted as if they were the next Maradona of football, but deep down they are horrified by the idea of someone exposing their weaknesses.
Therefore, there can be no real change in Turkish football's work ethic and success if a greater power than Turkish football institutions does not intervene and reshape the administration and finance of Turkish football.
Of course, I know that in almost all modern countries, including Turkey, football federations are independent from the state control, but that should not mean that they must be left at the mercy of corrupt executives.
What the state needs to do is to create regulations that control the football executives, so that proper work ethic can be imposed on players, coaches and fans via the ones who rule football. Surely I am aware that I try to tackle a huge sociological phenomenon which probably has many other reasons.
However, unlike morals which tries to universalize the local values, ethics tries to impose universal values to specific contexts, therefore that is why it is a more agreeable concept than morals. There may not be a universal formula on what is good or bad, but there is certainly a formula about what makes someone a good football player.
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