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Jordan Henderson Joins Ajax, “Apologizes” Again for Saudi Stay

Is there a point where we can stop talking about him? Is this it?


I really, truly, want to stop talking about Jordan Henderson. I want to let him fade into obscurity, and yet he keeps saying and doing dumb stuff.

Henderson was able to get out of that absurd Saudi Arabian contract, leaving Al Ettifaq with “immediate effect” and not even a couple hours later, announcing a move to legendary Eredivise club Ajax. It is, in truth, a better move for him than the Middle East, and comes after weeks of speculation that he was unhappy with where he ended up in the first place.

Come to find out, Henderson deferred those life changing wages (roughly $8.4 million for the six months he was there) to avoid paying UK taxes because he presumably kept his UK properties, and hasn’t been paid at all. His move away likely means that he played six months in Saudi Arabia, torched his goodwill reputation, for literally nothing.

(This is where we throw our heads back and laugh).

Ajax announced the signing on Thursday, with a promotional video clearly stating that “he used to wear the number 14 but won’t be doing that here” in stone cold fashion. He’ll be wearing the number 6 because Ajax retired number 14 after Johan Cruyff hung up his boots.

At the Johan Cruyff Arena where he was introduced with much fanfare, Henderson told reporters: “If any people from that community feel let down or hurt, I apologize, as I did six months ago. That was never my intention.”

So another non-apology.

As one of his previously most ardent supporters, I keep asking myself: why do I keep getting suckered into paying attention to him? It’s like stalking an ex’s social media, dying to see if they sub-post about you, if they feel remorse for what they’d done. Even now, six months after Henderson torched all the good faith he had built in his time on Merseyside, he hasn’t learned anything, and even thinks that by leaving Saudi Arabia (not even with his tail between his legs) for one of the most liberal and accepting countries in the world that he has made amends.

As we should all know by now, saying “I apologize if you feel hurt, it wasn’t my intention,” isn’t an actual apology. An actual apology takes responsibility for the hurt that was caused, and makes actual plans to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Henderson, twice now, has done the opposite by pushing off the hurt onto the communities that he hurt, thereby implying that it is their fault that they were hurt, not his.

It’s a damn shame that no one around him has told him, or that he hasn’t listened, to why these apologies are insufficient. Why he’ll continue to be booed, hopefully, at his beloved England National Team matches, and why that six month Saudi stay will be so much more than just a blip in his career.

We could have had it all, Hendo.

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