My two cents on the World Cup, Zidane and the need to stand up and speak up.

I decided that I needed to come out of hiatus, if only briefly, to write on this.

While I am certain that there is much more that will be said and done about this now that Materazzi has taken ‘some’ responsiblity for his behaviour, my heart goes out to Zidane. He is a great player who should not go out in infamy because of a mistake that he made in a moment of provocation. I am certain that there is a lot more to this than the head butt that we saw and the rather tame insult Materazzi admits to . . .

Non-European (read non-white) players have a very rough time on European soccer pitches as is clearly illustrated by this ESPN special from just before the World Cup dealing with racism on and off the pitch. Even more interesting to me is the fact that this piece came from ESPN rather than the BBC that always appeared so much more open and balanced in its reporting to me. The European media and governments loath to deal with racial issues head on meaning that the onus of dealing with racism on the pitch has fallen on the players themselves. They have taken up the challenge and are tackling the problem head on and are asking the fans to help take down this monster that threatens to tear the sport apart. I also find it amazing that as of July 11th, FIFA’s website STILL says absolutely nothing about what went down with Zidane and Materazzi.

Since FIFA is investigating this and has promised to do something about this if it is indeed racism (from google cache as I could not find the page on FIFA’s site) , then I want to take a wait and see approach. I feel terrible about the fact that this had to come to a head with Zidane during what should reall y have been the greatest game of his life.

Discuss - 6 Comments

  1. Magaidi says:

    Ntwiga, I agree but I think the world will remember Zidane more for the type of player he was than for his moment of shame especially now (and hindsight is a great thing!) that he’s come out and said Materazzi insulted his mom and sister. Unofficial stats show about 60 % of French football fans had already forgiven him before he went on air to say this, with the number sure to grow. In light of the revelations the only loser can be Materazzi coz he might be viewed as a bigot and coward. In addition, remember that one of the reasons the world loved Zidane is coz of the fearlessness he displays and his fiery attitude (case in point – France barely winked when facing massive odds against Brazil in which Zidane had his best game). L’Equippe said it best – “France is always there when Brazil loses its illusions” and ofcourse the guy captaining the side has alot to do with this confidence about the team..I’d have done the same thing, I don’t care how my legacy will be viewed – don’t insult my mom or my sis (we don’t need to take it there).

    -oh and sad that the final will be remembered more for this incident than for the fact that the Azurri (woo hoooo!!!!) won the title. (Yet FIFA continues to push on with the show) hmmm. – Anywayz sorry for blogging on your blog!..:)

    I missed the L’Eqiuppe quote on France and Brazil but that makes perfect sense and Zidane has always been the lynchpin around which France took them down. It is also very very cool the way that the nation has rallied around him but my take is unless something happens (dare I dream of a replay of the final anyone? – Not likely huh?), he WILL be remembered as the “headbutt guy” which is really really sad. As proof of this, I offer up Maradona, one of the greatest players to ever play this great game, mention his name and everyone says “hand of God” . . .

    You know what would be a different great example for the youth of today: Italy and Materazzi doing the honarable thing and owning up to what happened. FIFA rules for the World Cup say they would forfeit 3 points (which means nothing since they still won the game) but it would mean that a different story would be written in the history books.

    I can only dream.

    – Steve

  2. mlauzi says:

    thanks steve for a fresh perspective on the issue, compared to the other perspectives bent on blaming the victim and refusing to acknowledge the deeper problem of taunting and racism, which do remain to be tackled, regardless of zizou’s apology and non-mention. you have made a great point about players taking on the challenge themselves.

    There are lots of sides to this whole thing but someone had to point this one out.

    – Steve

  3. Barsawad says:

    Yes, it couldn’t have hapenned at a worse time! My heart too – goes out for Zidane!

    It is always the weak and narrow minded who practice and accept racism! Still, even with that, sportsmen of African origin are doing excellently world wide!

  4. sokari says:

    I wouldnt be holding my breath on FIFA doing much unless of course there has been some serious changes in their mindset! I have expressed my own sentiments on BL so no need to say more on this.

    Gotta agree with that, Blatter and his boys suck big time.

    A man can hope though . . .

    – Steve

  5. […] In other news, it seems that I may have jumped the gun>. After a two month silence, Materazzi has finally come out with the facts. […]

  6. […] other news, it seems that I may have jumped the gun. After a two month silence, Materazzi has finally come out with the facts. Trackback […]

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