An article in the New York Times asks why so many World Cup fans dislike Argentina. A poll by YouGov/Upshot asks, “Which country is your least favorite in the World Cup?”, and Argentina seems to be the favorite as the least favorite. The relevance to this post, regarding civility from the fans, is further down in the story which points out that even in the 1920’s fans did what they could to get under the skin and in the heads of opposing players. At that time Brazilian players were showered with the chant of “macaquitos“, or little monkeys, in Buenos Aries. So the more things change the more they stay the same I guess. At a pre World Cup match in Buenos Aries just over a week ago, Argentine fans vented outside the stadium with their not so friendly feelings towards Chile, “All I ask from God is for all Chileans to die.” Hey, at least they get right to the point!
Not going to make a lot of fans with this one. I can only plead with you to First Think. Then Think Again before attacking me for not being completely gay about this story. Once again my head is about to explode because a problem is being attacked, but through a politically correct lens, not looked at thoughtfully and thinking about all of the consequences of any actions to be taken. Evidently many fans at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil have been directing chants at the opposing team that are considered by many to be, well lets see, racist, homophobic, bigoted and signs of extreme nationalism.
Media reports are not entirely accurate, I can say that because they are reporting different facts. The Hollywood Reporter points out that Brazil and Mexico could be disciplined for the actions of their fans and I would bet the powers that be are surprised by the reaction of their readers. According to the Reporter, FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter, has campaigned in recent years to snuff out bigotry in soccer. He has been a strong advocate for points deductions, saying “sporting sanctions are the only effective punishment.” Now, Think about this. Points deductions? What could possible go wrong with this? They are talking about punishing a team for the actions of THEIR fans. Which opens up the chance for rabid supporters to appear to be fans of the opposition, behave badly and thereby help their real team win. More problems with the initial reporting are brought up by many commenters at the Reporter site questioning the actual meaning of the term “puno”.
The report in the Wall Street Journal is the best I have seen so far although their headline mentions only Mexico as a dastardly culprit . The Journal reports, ” Héctor González Iñárritu, director of national teams at the Mexican Football Federation, told the Mexico City newspaper Milenio that FIFA could issue a fine. But he added that further sanctions were unlikely, saying the jeer is outside the federation’s control.” Makes sense to me.
At the same time the Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, has his own take on the situation saying basically that it is much to do about nothing as he defends the fans. He says it is just a folksy part of the game and a tradition in Mexico in this interview with Radio Red Spanish. Herrera adds, “FIFA should be worried about more serious things.” Now just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right but those trying to change the CULTURE are up against it. I know how it is, I stopped going to high school games decades ago because of the behavior of the students. The vulgar language that had become acceptable, even back then with adults paying no attention to what their little devils were up to and the, in my opinion disrespect shown during the playing of the national anthem was more than I wanted to endure. I guess I’m a little put off today by those who are so upset with their particular sensitivities when these self-same people didn’t and don’t, care about my feelings and possible negative consequences that have been brought about by a more vulgar society. While I might be empathetic with some goals of people and organizations such as Network FARE I can’t support their work because they have a narrow field of view.
With age come wisdom. Sometimes. Age may also bring senility. Anyway, living a long time means a lot of experience that many younger people or those who just don’t pay attention know nothing about. I lost interest in the Olympics many decades ago when the Games were hijacked and used for political expression. At the same time the great liberals of the time were all exercised about nationalism being displayed, especially by Americans who rooted for their country to win. Imagine that, and they put pressure on to stop keeping metal counts and standings. The horrors. The movement was basically by American liberals against anything American and didn’t have a lot of success at least at the time. But it laid the groundwork for what we see today.
I’m not in favor of fans behaving in any way they please. But with the movements of today, we will have to sit in total silence to keep from offending anyone. Team names? The Fighting Irish and the silly leprechaun mascot? I am offended. The Demon Deacons, get real, that has to do. What can we do? Just have numbers? Team 1 and Team 2? No, that wouldn’t be fair, some would assume Team 1 is better than Team 6 just because of the number. Change can be good. Treating other people well is a good thing. But there is a difference between good behavior and Orwellian thought control.