Conspiracy Theory: Joey Barton got himself suspended by Rangers to promote his new book

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Hours after Rangers announced that they are suspending ex-con midfielder Joey Barton for three weeks over a training-ground spat with an unnamed teammate, his shifty mug was plastered across newspaper backpages hawking his new autobiography.

Barton’s return to antagonizing his own teammates is arguably his most notable act since he was sent off for hitting Tom Huddlestone in the penis before washing out of the Premier League back in 2015. Which is quite the coincidence given that his book, titled “No Nonsense” and published by Simon & Schuster, is released on Thursday.

To promote the book, Barton did big interviews with the likes of the Guardian and the Daily Mail, where he is now “Joey Barton 2.0” despite being in the news for yet another round of Joey Barton 1.0 behavior.

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As the Daily Record reports, some people think Barton’s training ground antics were an attempt at a promotional effort. Prior to joining Rangers for their return to the Scottish Premier League this season, the 34-year-old was drifting out of the spotlight as he played last season with Burnley in the Championship. Had he not fallen back into character last week, a Joey Barton autobiography likely wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much attention as it would have a few years ago when he was reborn as a Nietzsche-quoting media darling.

Barton was quick to issue a lengthy apology/explanation of the incident on Twitter, saying that there was no physical altercation, just words that “overstepped the mark.” He added that he felt his initial dismissal by manager Mark Warburton was unnecessary, so a three-week exile is likely much more than he expected out of this. What he might have thought would just be a way to get his name talked about after a heavy Old Firm loss turned into a significant punishment.

Still, with no football to play and a fresh controversy to discuss, Barton has the makings of a successful book tour on his hands. And both his publisher and his ego probably couldn’t be happier.

UPDATE: Sky Sports is now reporting that Barton is under investigation for allegedly breaching betting rules. The man REALLY wants to sell some books.

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