At the end of a year dominated by behavioral issues, it is a pleasure to be able to salute a couple of real men of Premier League soccer.
One is Brede Hangeland , the giant at the heart of Fulham 's defense. When he got red-carded for a lunge at Lee Cattermole in the home game against Sunderland in November, some critics thought a yellow might have been sufficient. Not the Norwegian. He went to see the referee, Lee Probert, afterwards - to apologize.
"I was walking past the referee's room," he explained, "and thought I might as well go in and have a chat. It was just to say I had no hard feelings. I was sorry first and foremost for my team [ Sunderland had gone on to beat the 10 men 3-1] but also for the referee, because he didn't want to send anyone off. I know referees and it's bad for them as well when it happens."
Hangeland, aged 31 and in his sixth season with Fulham, had never been sent off or even suspended before. He added: "Hopefu...