Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The drama continues

This might become the lasting image of the World Cup 2006. Unfortunate to say the least, but as more details come out it raises a greater question: is there a line that certain teams and players cross in the name of winning?

As every major new network (outside north america), tries to figure out exactly what the Italian said, the scope of the ugliness gets worse. Anyone who has played sports from the playgrounds, streets, fields, arenas, gyms, back yards, etc of the world knows, in competition emotions and the desire to win bring out tricks and words that otherwise we would not foresee ourselves leverageing. But that does not excuse crossing certain lines. I will try not to judge Materazzi since we do not know for a fact as to what he said. But if any of the rumors are true, that he insulted Zidane's mother and family by wishing them "an ugly death" and then calling him a "terrorist" or a son of a "terrorist whore." Then I can understand Zidane's reaction.

As it is well documented, Zidane was born in Marseille in one of the worst parts of the city to Algerian parents. He is proud of his Algerian heritage, and anyone who knows the history of France understands what a delicate place Algeria has in our past. Additionally, with all the current events, using any "humor" related to terrorism and Arabs has no place on the football pitch nor in every day lives. Finally, Zidane's mother was brought to the hospital prior to the World Cup finals, not an appropriate time to wish death upon her... (this might explain Zidane's stone cold look prior to the game, completely different than the smile he had prior to the Brazil match).

Burying your head into someone's chest is no way to act, but the more I learn about what happened the more I understand why Zidane reacted in the manner he did. For those pundits and fans that critize Zidane, saying he should have known better, he should be used to this treatment, he should have realized the situation, he cost his team....I will say to them to step back a minute and put yourself in Zizou's golden boots. How would you react to racil slurs coupled with insults to your ill mother?

While our atheletes are placed on a pedestile they remain humans with emotions that sometimes are pushed too far. This happens to all of us, we just don't have 1 billion people watching us, or the hopes of a nation riding on our shoulders when we react.

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