TO BOO, or not to boo? That is the question of the week in the sporting world.

I expressed my personal disappointment that Newport County AFC fans felt the need to boo former player Alex Samuel at Stevenage on Saturday afternoon.

And the abuse meted out to American sprinter Justin Gatlin after his controversial victory in the 100m final at the World Athletics Championships in London later that night has very nearly caused a diplomatic incident between the US and the UK.

Frankly, it’s something of a shock that Donald Trump hasn’t given us his thoughts about the furore on his always entertaining Twitter account.

While he has his excuses, like almost everyone who is caught, it’s certainly not Fake News to report that Gatlin has twice been banned for doping offences.

And he was always going to be in the firing line after ruining Usain Bolt’s farewell at the stadium where the Jamaican legend won three of his eight Olympic gold medals.

There were originally nine Olympic golds in Bolt’s collection, of course, but his historic ‘triple triple’ achievement is no more after Jamaica were stripped of the 2008 4x100m title in January this year when teammate Nesta Carter failed a retrospective drugs test.

So Bolt has been a victim of doping already but he has been admirably magnanimous in his defence of Gatlin since the weekend.

South Wales Argus:

"Justin was the better man and he executed it well,” said the sprinting superstar (above with Gatlin).

“For me he deserves to be here because he's done his time and worked hard to get back to be one of the best athletes.

“He's like any other competitor. I lost the race to a great competitor.”

So if Bolt can forgive and forget Gatlin’s transgressions, should the rest of us follow suit?

“He served his ban and he worked his heart out doing what he could,” said the American’s father Willie Gatlin.

"He worked to come back, and he worked his way back to championship form."

"I know what kind of son I raised, what kind of character he has and the fans booing is disrespectful to the sport.

“He created a memory that is going to be in people's minds a long time."

Gatlin has definitely done that but not in the way he would have hoped for and most people would argue that twice being caught with banned substances in your system is more disrespectful to the sport than a bit of booing.

Every paying customer has the right to boo if they see fit and it’s not hard to understand why the London Stadium crowd showed their displeasure at Gatlin’s past, even if many US athletes and pundits are having difficulty getting their heads around it.

It was awkward and uncomfortable – just like it would be if crowds of readers gathered outside the Argus office and barracked me while I was writing this!

But Gatlin has to face the consequences of his actions and the whole hullabaloo should also send a message to the sport’s governing bodies.

It’s hard to argue with Toni Minichello, who coached Britain's former Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, when he points out that they are responsible for the fact that Gatlin is now on his third chance.

“It's not his [Gatlin's] fault in any way shape or form,” said Minichello.

“It's the fault of the federations and Wada [the World Anti-Doping Agency] for putting the rules down in such a way that allows him to return.

“Really, if you want to boo somebody, boo Wada, boo the federations.”

To return to where we started, some County fans were aggrieved that I ‘kept on’ about the booing of Samuel at the Lamex Stadium.

I’ll say again that every fan has the right to voice their displeasure with a competitor and everyone has the right to agree or disagree with that.

And I cannot see why any Exiles supporters would boo one of the Great Escape heroes just three months on from the incredible end to last season.

As a football fan myself I know it’s frustrating when a player doesn’t have the same love for your club as you do.

But Samuel, who was only ever on loan at Rodney Parade remember, gave everything for the County cause and played a big part in ensuring that we were watching League Two football at the weekend.

Without him Flynn’s men could easily have been in Hartlepool or Leyton Orient’s shoes – losing at home to Dover or away at Sutton in the National League.

And his only ‘crime’ was choosing to join Stevenage over County.

It may have been ‘just a bit of banter’ but Samuel deserved better.