There are few sins that coaches won't forgive talented athletes. Legal trouble, disreputable behavior in one's personal life and even crucial in-game flubs are typically put aside quickly if a player can help a team win.
But, there may be one trespass from which there is no redemption: refusing to play.
During a Champions League match on Tuesday between Manchester City and Bayern Munich, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez reportedly refused to enter the game when asked by City boss Roberto Mancini.
With Manchester City trailing, 2-0, at Munich, Mancini attempted to send on Tevez to bolster his side's anemic attack. Tevez rebuffed the offer. Not surprisingly, Mancini was incensed. In his postgame remarks (WATCH ABOVE), he insisted that Tevez would never play for him again.
The compact but powerful striker from a hardscrabble section of Buenos Aires netted 23 goals in all competitions to lead City in that category, making Mancini's statement even more significant.
On Wednesday, the team suspended Tevez, who issued a statement that claimed the entire situation was a "misunderstanding."
"I would like to apologize to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich," Tevez said in a statement on Wednesday. "In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play."
Despite the 27-year-old's claim that the events in Munich have been misinterpreted, there is no disputing the fact that his marriage with City has been turbulent in recent months. After ranking among the game's most devastating strikers last season, Tevez has been a peripheral member of the squad thus far this season.
His dubious status extends, in part, back to the summer when he confirmed his intention to leave Manchester City, citing family reasons. He had been expressing a desire to leave for months already. More relevant -- and perhaps more galling to Tevez -- among the reasons for his reduced impact is the captivating performance delivered by Kun Aguero in the early stages of the season. Tevez's countryman has been scintillating for City, with eight goals through six matches. Aguero even stole the spotlight when Tevez returned to the starting lineup against Wigan on Sept. 11 by scoring a hat trick. Conversely, Tevez missed a penalty shot in that game.
On Friday morning, Harry Harris of ESPN Soccernet reported that one of Tevez's former clubs, West Ham, may be looking to swoop in for the disgruntled striker. Manchester City officially parted with £25m for the Argentine in 2009.Later on Friday, Man City reportedly rejected West Ham's overtures for Tevez. Perhaps there will be a reconciliation at the Eastlands. Or, perhaps City are hoping to bring a heftier return than what West Ham is offering.