Jamie Carragher believes Jordan Henderson has a big problem with past support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Henderson has sealed a move to Saudi Pro League club Al Ettifaq on a three-year deal worth £700,000 a week.
However, the move was shrouded in controversy due to Saudi Arabia’s stance on homosexuality, which carries the death penalty.
A longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, Henderson has faced backlash from numerous fan groups over the move that damaged his reputation.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admits the criticism of Henderson is justified, and the 33-year-old now has a huge hole to squeeze himself out of.
“Henderson has a major issue with his previous statements in support of the LGBTQ+ community,” Carragher told The Times.
“I fully understand this criticism and it is valid. Jordan has been praised for speaking his mind, so he has some tough questions to answer, and the critical response to him will negatively impact the future of communities that value the support of high-profile figures.
“When other footballers hear the criticism directed at him, they won’t say ‘I can’t go to Saudi Arabia’.” to avoid hypocrisy.
“It’s like buying silence – a serious impact of sports bleaching.” Again, Fifa and other sports bodies were vulnerable to criticism and should have been stronger.
“Governing bodies have the power to say that countries cannot host major sporting events if they fail to meet human rights requirements. You can’t preach inclusive values and then turn a blind eye to the right price and expect no criticism.
Saudi Arabia’s influence in football is growing rapidly and poses a threat to European football.
Many stars opened the door to a move to the Middle East after Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in January.
Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante top the list of stars to play in the Saudi Pro League next season and it’s likely there will be more signings before the transfer window ends.
Carragher sees Saudi Arabia’s wealth as a potential problem for European clubs, with players at the peak of their careers now incentivized to move there.
“What we see in this transfer window is that Saudi Arabia is a real threat to the wealth, power and quality of European football,” Carragher said. “I worry about where this will end.
“Those who moved on are no different from the aging stars who moved to Major League Soccer in the United States in the mid-1970s; Pelé, Johan Cruyff, Bobby Moore and George Best were among them.
“Others are comparing the current exodus to the Chinese Super League, which has tempted many famous names for a while.
“But the Saudi moves appear to be the start of something much bigger. The resources available are so great that rapid expansion could occur.
“Younger, high-level players may eventually find the chance to secure a £100m contract more attractive than staying in Europe, especially if it doesn’t impact their international ambitions and prospects of attending a World Cup has.”