In a match against Blackburn on Wednesday, the Newcastle United player Joey Barton suddenly punched Blackburn’s Pedersen hard in the midriff without any significant provocation. He then tried to fool the referee that he was only giving a friendly pat. Barton, who is a serial offender both on and off the pitch, later apologised and was banned for 3 matches. He said he has been working hard to keep that side of his game under control. If punching is a part of his game as a professional footballer then the football authorities should be wondering if Joey is entitled to play at all. In 2008 he was sent to prison for 6 months for assault. Imagine that he had thrown a punch during a game whilst on licence from prison; would he have been recalled to custody?