On Sunday, reports spread of former Sunderland and new St. Etienne midfielder Steed Malbranque retiring from football in order to care for his cancer-stricken son. It's the kind of news that tugs at the heart strings and puts life and football into perspective. It also turned out to be completely untrue.
From the Telegraph:
Reports appeared yesterday stating that Malbranque had decided to call time on his 15-year career to care for his four year-old son.
"We do not know how these reports began but, as you can imagine, Steed is not at all happy about them."
However, a source at Thomas Cooper, the London-based solicitors who represent Malbranque, said last night: "These reports are wholly wrong.
"In the first place, Steed does not have a son. He does have two daughters, both of whom are in good health, and he has not quit at St Etienne.
Despite that small detail of Malbranque not even having a son, a number of news outlets still ran with the story before this clarification, including the Daily Mail, The Mirror, Metro and, of course, Bleacher Report. Twice.
Who knows why anyone would make up such an awful rumor about Steed Malbranque of all people, but instead being an emotional story about the importance of family, it has turned into another sad example of why we shouldn't believe everything we read on the Internet. And that includes Dirty Tackle.