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.