Barcelona’s #WeAreAllLeoMessi campaign is a disgrace to society
Phase 1: With great power, comes great influence
If you have power, you can make a criminal look like a victim. In the society that we live in, influence can buy you innocence, even when you are not. This disgraceful use of power can be seen everywhere around us, with Football Club Barcelona becoming the latest exponents of it.
As Lionel Messi gets a 21-month jail term—that will come in effect should he break the rule again—and a huge fine for not paying his taxes, Barcelona have come out in support of their best player by asking the fans to stand beside him by tweeting with the #WeAreAllLeoMessi or #TodosSomosLeoMessi hashtag.
What is wrong with supporting your own player? Nothing. What is wrong with supporting a convicted criminal? Everything.
Barcelona’s campaign sends out the wrong idea to people. It gives the impression that the Argentine is a victim of some conspiracy by the Spanish government. It oozes the idea that the greatest player of our era isn’t at fault for not paying his taxes.
Phase II: Ignorance is not equal to innocence
Many claim that it wasn’t his fault because his father was assigned with the task of managing such issues. Even if we ignore the fact that there were Messi’s signature in some of the tax-related documents—rendering the above argument obsolete—being ignorant isn’t the same as being innocent.
And now, with the court convicting him for his crime, there is no apology or sense of guilt. Instead, Barca are creating an image that shows Messi as a casualty.
What Lionel Messi did was a crime. He has been condemned for it. This is a lesson for us to not repeat the mistakes the Barcelona star made. With what’s happening now, most young kids would think that it must be alright to not pay taxes since a great club are standing behind their greatest player for a crime that he did.
We know that it won’t go that far, but if some day Lionel Messi assaults someone or even kills some body, would the club stand in support for their star man and paint the victim image like they have done now?
This analogy, no matter how far-fetched, gives people food for thought. Lionel Messi is going through a difficult period in his life—both professionally and personally—but adversities shouldn’t exude sympathy of such great proportions that people fail to spot the difference between right and wrong.
Conclusion: Nobody is above the law
The Argentine was innocent until proven guilty. Now, he has been proven guilty. Instead of covering his crime with a drapery of nebulous mist, Barcelona should have let people judge for themselves and learn from his mistakes.
But now, with Barcelona’s disgraceful campaign, it feels like the tax-collectors are at fault for not going to Messi’s home and begging him to pay taxes because, after all, the best player in the world—or his representatives, for that matter—shouldn’t have to wait in the queue pay taxes like the average person does.
The 29-year-old earns a whopping €36 million-per-year before paying his taxes €18.5 million after paying his obligations. Certainly, that much money is more than enough for Lionel Messi to provide for his family.
It takes me a month to earn what Messi earns in roughly 20 minutes, and yet I have no qualms in paying my compulsions. Neither should Messi, or anyone else for that matter. Instead of making a hara-kiri of the situation to make the former Argentina captain look like an innocent bystander, he should be used as an example for taxpayers—that not even a star like him is above the law.
And he shouldn’t be, either.