Aguero was widely criticised on social media and by pundits for putting his hand on Sian Massey-Ellis' shoulder while he disputed a throw-in that she had awarded to Arsenal in last Saturday's game.
WHAT DID GUARDIOLA SAY?
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Guardiola was asked in a news conference if Aguero should have spoken to the official later and apologised.
I didn't speak to Sergio about this but I'm pretty sure if she felt bad he'll apologise without a problem.
"All the people looking from outside judge, but I know the intention from Sergio," Guardiola told reporters.
"He put his hands in a normal way like he does to me on or off the pitch or when I hug him when there's a substitution or when sometimes he touches the referee as well or an opponent."
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"If I'd seen some aggression, maybe. But I think it was normal as I know him perfectly. He's been a huge star in the world, but he's humble, one of the nicest people I've met.
What is important is his intention and his intention was normal, to talk to her in a normal way. It was not a bad word, it was just normal.
'Women are forced to endure being touched by men and lambasted by society for daring to speak out against it'
For most people, regardless of industry, it would never occur to them to touch anyone in the way Aguero did Massey-Ellis in a professional context, male or female. The fact that Massey-Ellis is female is, however, undeniably relevant in this context.
Though some have argued players frequently make physical contact with male match officials and in a far more aggressive way, this misses the point – and the power dynamics of football, a male dominated industry, and society in general – entirely.
Of course it is impossible to prove or disprove intent in this situation – actually yes it did look like a condescending gesture and Massey-Ellis clearly looks uncomfortable in the footage but even taking that out of the equation, the action remains completely inappropriate.
In all walks of life women are forced to endure being touched by men who have no business doing so and then lambasted by society for daring to speak out against it. Whether or not those behaviours are threatening is completely irrelevant - it’s no less wearing to bat away any hand you did not ask to be placed on you.
Furthermore, it’s embarrassing to become the subject of attention you also did not ask for, when you are simply trying to do your job. To suggest that Massey-Ellis should now further demean herself by grovelling for an apology on top of this is frankly offensive and indicative of Guardiola’s complete lack of awareness of aforementioned power dynamics despite the abundance of commentators lining up to explain them to him.
However, lest we forget Guardiola has form for this kind of attitude, rushing to defend Bernardo Silva when he made a social post aimed at Benjamin Mendy last year that Kick It Out condemned, saying “racist stereotypes are never acceptable as ‘banter’, and we’re shocked that someone who is a role model to millions has failed to understand the discriminatory nature of his post”.
“Bernardo is one of the most lovely people I [have] ever met in my life,” Guardiola said, as a straight, white man, and he demonstrates the same ignorance now with Aguero.
There is nothing normal, or at least there should not be, about touching someone without explicit invitation in a professional context or otherwise, and intention is irrelevant - when you are told your behaviour is offensive or inappropriate by the group of people it harms, show your intention by taking ownership of it and apologising.
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