A photo has been circulating Twitter over the past few hours, supposedly depicting Newcastle United striker, Papiss Cisse, in Newcastle's Aspers Casino: a clear infringement on his religious beliefs.
The photo was taken back in November the night before Newcastle’s away game in Brugge by Toon fan, Andrew Mcnally. Having been put up and circulated on Twitter by @Lyall_c, the photo went viral and has since attracted the attention of national papers, the Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror.
The striker, who is a devout Muslim, has recently caused a stir in refusing to wear the new Wonga-sponsored United shirt, not wanting to promote the money-lending company on religious grounds.
Although teammates Cheik Tioté and Moussa Sissoko are also Muslim, they have had no issue with wearing the sponsor’s logo.
The position of Islam on gambling, of course, is that it is prohibited, harmful and destructive to society. Gambling is addictive by nature, a practice that takes money from the poor with the perceived, yet illusive promise that they may “win” something without having to work for it, similar to the thought behind money lending companies such as Wonga.
There is of course no guarantee this is Cissé but, despite the fact the photo is blurred, the figure carries the notable low-slung shoulders and the slightly dubious dress sense of Papiss Cissé.
I don’t believe a player should be forced to do anything which infringes on their religious beliefs, but this photo brings the issue into as whole new perspective. There have been suggestions that the wongagate fiasco is merely a ploy to force a move elsewhere, and this would fortify that argument.
What do you think? If this is indeed Cissé, where do we go from here?