Burnley boss Sean Dyche said he would understand if professional footballers refused to interact with the public in future in fear of becoming embroiled in a media storm like Wayne Rooney.
The England captain has dominated the headlines this week since pictures emerged showing him looking bleary-eyed after attending a wedding reception at the England team hotel after the World Cup qualifier against Scotland.
Rooney apologised to England interim manager Gareth Southgate and to the Football Association regarding the matter but on Saturday he described the media coverage of the incident as “disgraceful”.
Dyche told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme: “The thing I find really head-scratching at the moment is that on the one hand a lot of supporters particularly, and sometimes media, say the players are unapproachable, you can’t get near them.
“When they do, (as) in this instance at the weekend, then it’s made a big story and plastered everywhere.
“So I do think there’s double standards in that. We all know there are two sides to being a professional footballer.
“We get that, as managers, as players, we understand there’s a life choice you make.
“But on the the one hand, you can’t say they’re unapproachable, they don’t mix with the public and then when they do, throw them straight under the bus. It’s double standards.”
Dyche said he sympathised with Rooney and understood the dilemma footballers had to deal with.
“It’s not to have a go at anyone but fans must learn why players are a bit stand-offish,” Dyche said.
“Why they keep a distance, why they’re not always keen on photographs, particularly on a night out because any photograph can imply a very different story to the facts.
“Going back to the Wayne Rooney story, I haven’t heard from the family whose wedding it was.
“I’d be really interested to know what their thoughts were. I can only imagine, and I may not have this right, that they were amazed, stunned and delighted that someone like Wayne Rooney would come and say ‘yeah, I’ll come and have a few pictures and spend an hour with you on your wedding day.’
“That might be wrong, but no one has stopped to look at that side of things.
“Even the issue of him having a drink, he wasn’t going to be fit by the way, so I’m in the balance with it.
“I’m obviously aware, I’m a manager and must make it clear I’m aware of the professional standards of footballers.
“But I’m just trying to give balance to the view of the public to say ‘slow down a bit, because the next time you come into contact with any of those players, you must now understand why they maybe won’t give you a picture, won’t give you an autograph, or stand with your family’.
“Particularly if they are out socially, because they’re in fear of this happening to them, and I think that’s a little bit sad.”