STEVE Bruce has blasted Titus Bramble for hitting the town just hours before he was due for training at the Academy of Light.
Centre-half Bramble was arrested in Teesside during the early hours of Wednesday morning on suspicion of sexual assault and possession of class A drugs – leading Sunderland to suspend the 30-year-old from all club duties 36 hours later.
Given both a police and club investigation are ongoing, Bruce is limited to what he can say about Bramble.
But the Sunderland boss admits he feels let down by Bramble’s decision to head to a nightclub just 24 hours after the club’s desperate defeat at Norwich City, a game in which the former Newcastle United man hardly shone.
In the wake of the Carrow Road defeat, Bruce had cancelled Sunderland’s planned day off on Wednesday, with Bramble due to report for training just hours after he was arrested.
Bruce said: “There’s a police investigation going on into Titus and obviously I’m restricted in what I can say. But for me, the big disappointment is he shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
“With the rewards footballers get, they have a responsibility, a moral responsibility and I don’t think footballers should be in nightclubs on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, especially after you have just been beaten.
“If it was me, I would be locking myself away for 24, 48 hours, burying my head and making sure when training comes around that I’m going to go and perform better than I did on Monday night.
“That’s the disappointing thing for me, but that’s what, unfortunately, football has become.
“With the rewards that they have, they have to show a bit more responsibility.”
Bramble has been bailed by the police until December, but will not feature for the first team or be allowed to train while the club conducts its own investigation.
Regardless of the outcome, the incident puts Bramble’s Sunderland future in question just 15 months after his £1million move from Bruce’s former club Wigan.
Bramble has almost two years remaining on his contract, but Bruce feels personally let down by the former England U21 man’s decision to hit the town and may well decide to part ways with the defender.