Ah, Super-Injunctions. They're just like a normal injunction (the press is banned from discussing certain facts), but super (the press can say bugger all). It appears that folk on social networking sites and various forums can, however, and that can be super frustrating, but sure that's the law - as it stands at the moment.
I had to give myself a crash course in super-injunctions last night as I'd been invited onto "Ireland's number one breakfast show" (partially because 'you know who' haven't got the balls to create decent competition) Ireland AM. You see, there's a top Irish international footballer who's after forking over a five-figure wedge for one of these super-injunctions because, as the Independent put it on Friday, "He is believed to have had a brief fling with a woman while he was in a serious relationship. The man's partner is said to have no idea about this." Once people started talking about it on Twitter, the paper reported that said player was "Remaining silent after allegations that he had an affair emerged on a social networking site... Twitter users took to the net to repeat the well-known player's name after one user unmasked him as allegedly holding a gagging order earlier this week."
Joe.ie were being slightly less coy on Friday, providing a handy five player shortlist including "a super-injunction likelihood rating." Those named include Shay Given, John O'Sea, Robbie Keane, Kevin Kilbane and Richard Dunne. It makes for an interesting read.
Needless to say, this morning's chat with Sinead and Mark, and the very charming John O'Keeffe, was a little on the stifled side as it was widely thought the News of The World were going to name the footballer yesterday (instead went with another story about Louis Walsh gettting a crotch thrust towards him on a soapdish, and a lovely heart-warming tale divulging how Ryan Giggs' wife has decided to stay with him, despite having an affair with football enthusiast Imogen Thomas, not to mention a tryst with his sister-in-law that lasted, ohhh, the best part of a decade), therefore premitting us to address the elephant in the room, as opposed to just poking it from afar. It was also a little stilted on my part as my stomach was howling like a hyena and I'd had about 40 minutes collective kip; appearing on live TV clearly scares the bejeebus out of my subconscious. When I wasn't thrashing about the bed slathered in sweat, I was trotting blindly to the jacks.
During the segment, O'Keeffe imparted a bit of advice to all those in the public eye, that being "just don't have affairs," 'cause - with several social networking sites happily chirruping your name - you're wasting a gross amount of time and money. In a perfect world that would be the best plan alright, but footballers in particular let their bodily extremities do the thinking for them - that's why, as Tony Cascarino pointed out, footballers often play the best games going when they're having affairs. While we're at it, since when were footballers the moral barometer for anything? In saying that, I personally believe anyone in the public eye has an obligation not to act like a cliche riddled f***wit; a rose tinted view, but one worth clinging to, because if we don't have some benchmark of standards, we're super buggered. Will someone please think of the children! *swoons*
As for the footballer in question; if you're gunning to find out who it is, you know, before a Scottish media outlet prints a picture, or a member of parliament blurts out his name, I'm sure Google can churn up some information for you... much like it did before John Terry, Ryan Giggs, Howard Donald (him of all people should know going down the Mark Owen route of "here, have me on a plate" is going to be more effective than holding a red rag to the gagged red tops) were all outed. In fact, there's even a Super-Injunction Quiz you can enjoy if you have a few spare minutes based on six UK based cases, it's quite the head scratcher...