Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has called for an end to the "lynch mob" mentality that has hung out to dry Emmanuel Adebayor.
Taylor is seeking "understanding" for the Manchester City as the FA delayed issuing any charges on Monday but will be doing so on Tuesday morning after his antics against former club Arsenal on Saturday.
The highly respected players' union leader told ESPN Soccernet in an exclusive interview: "Of course no one can condone what happened with Adebayor, and I am not going to condone it, but there was a lynch mob mentality with Eduardo, and now one with the former Arsenal player.
"We all need to be careful that we are just attacking another player rather than making general, but important points about the game. This is not like Eric Cantona, but its being portrayed as being just as bad. But the player had to face a baying crowd. It is very similar to the abuse Col Campbell received from a section of Spurs supporters.
"Players do have a responsibility, and they must learn to count to ten, because none of us want to return to the crowd trouble of the 80s. Neither should players have to put up with such vindictive crowds making it so personal.
"At the same time players have to be mindful of the image of the game - it's not that easy for them when the circumstances become so vindictive, and then there is a witch hunt against them afterwards. We all need to get it into perspective.
"We have a World Cup coming up and we want our supporters to be well behaved and this is also a big test for the players. We also want to stage a World Cup, we have the best stadia, the best atmosphere and as good a crowd as anywhere around the world, and the crowds need to be part of it.
"However, we cannot allow it to boil over and allow it to affect the players."
Taylor revealed that he has made it his business to discover the player's point of view. Taylor told me: "He is hoping that the whole world is not against him and comes down on him. That's the way it must seem. He knows he made a mistake but at least he was quick to apologise and he is contrite about it all.
"When I say there has to be understanding, there is mitigation, there is a history to this; there was the abuse he suffered, and everyone is human, and he felt the emotion of the day when he was out to prove something after what happened to him at Arsenal. And he was aware of what had been said at Arsenal, that the atmosphere had improved after he left. The emotion got on top of him.
"He is a top class player, he was good for Arsene Wenger, while Arsene made him into a good player, but also Arsenal did well financially out of him and so benefited in that way as well. The whole thing was such a shame, as it spoilt what was a top quality game.
"But I fear it was an accident waiting to happen, the way the two lads [Adebayor and Kolo Toure] left Arsenal and were keen to prove a point. I wonder whether anything was said to them about cooling it.
"I thought the referee Mark Clattenberg did well to chase after him and caution him for the goal celebration. I don't think it warranted a red card. I felt the referee took the appropriate action but, of course, it is at the discretion of the FA to decide whether to take any further action.
"As for the incident with Van Persie, the Arsenal player did steam into him, but that's not to say he should have reacted the way he did. The ref didn't see it, but from certain angles it does look bad.
"It was heat of the moment and he did apologise twice and shook hands with Van Persie at the end. You would have hoped that could have been the end of the matter, but it is sure to continue with so much bad blood. But Phil Neville is out of the game for a while, and it is a physical contact game."
Adeybayor will have a face-to-face meeting on Tuesday morning with Hughes, executive chairman Garry Cook and Brian Marwood before City decide on the extent of internal discipline.
By the way, can someone tell me how a dive by Eduardo has now turned out not to be a dive. I can only imagine that Arsenal planned to mount a legal challenge and UEFA have backed down.