The Premier League “bad boy,” who is known more for his controversies than his talent, had a rough outing on Saturday, even for him. Now he’s left trying to defend his actions.
The main incident came in the second half of Burnley’s FA Cup fixture against Lincoln City, when Barton was preparing to defend a free kick. First he tried to stamp on Lincoln striker Matt Rhead’s foot and, when that didn’t work, he took the ridiculous dive you can watch above.
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Can a dive get any more absurd than that? Rhead extends his arm to point to something, and Barton scurries over to his arm and crouches down, pretending he’d been elbowed in the face. When that didn’t work, he begged the referee for a card, which never came.
The video evidence is pretty clear, right? Not according to Barton. The midfielder was getting slammed on social media after the match, and went on to defend himself, claiming he was just trying to duck under Rhead’s arm, for some reason:
Wasn't trying to get the Big Man sent off. It was my job to front screen and disrupt him. Was trying to get back in front of him. (1)
You can believe that explanation if you want, but it should be noted that the dive wasn’t the end of Barton’s dirty tactics on Saturday. In the 69th minute, he clawed the face of Lincoln winger Terry Hawkridge, and amazingly got off with only a yellow card for the hand-to-face contact, which you can see in the highlights above too.
Despite Barton’s pleas of innocence on Twitter, it was actually a different tweet that got everyone talking on Saturday. This gem from 2013 went viral as the perfect bit of irony:
Players who roll around when nobody touches them should be subsequently banned. I hate cheats. Authorities should address it.