I Only Like Green Faces: Sepp Blatter

Sepp blatter thinks there should be zero tolerance of racism on the soccer field. Off of it however, he’s fine with dropping racial epithets and slurs without facing any punishment.

Welcome to the wide world of sports racism, where business execs and commissioners, to quote Kanye West, “only like green faces”.

Here is the quote that the out-of-touch the Septuagenarian Swiss native has drawn flak for:

“During a match you may say something to someone who’s not looking exactly like you, but at end of match it’s forgotten.”

…Yeah like how well did that work out for Zidane?  Pretty sure it lead to a headbutt:

I mean that’s how you deal with racist assholes. I wish Big Z would show up at Blatter’s doorstep and give him a cranial crack. The guy represents the most diverse sport in the world (200 teams) and yet he thinks he can make amends by hugging a black guy.

The truth of the matter is that racism has no place anywhere in sports. Teams are built to be inclusive, to take the best aspects from a diverse set of individuals and translate it into brilliant displays of athletic prowess. We all bleed the same color, sweat the same color and sacrifice our personal beliefs for the greater good of the team. If you can’t show class on the field, you don’t deserve to be on it. You are role models. You too Sepp!

Then when you factor in his anti-gay statements in relation to the Qatar world cup, the corruption following the Russian and Qatari bids, the payoffs during last world cup, the lack of instant replay and his belittling of women’s world soccer, its obvious this guy has no business in FIFA or sport in general. Just like our favorite person, Mr. David Stern (click here for past post on Top 10 Reasons to Hate David Stern).

Why do you think the NBAPA Union Attorney, Jeffrey Kessler, said “owners are treating players like plantation workers”? Because racism is still alive, they just be concealing it (ok last Kanye line). The disconnect between fans/players and the front office has never been greater.

What what about the NCAA (click for previous post) and their pay to pimp mentality? They make 700 million a year in revenue, but where does that money go…

Into the hands of rich, old white men is the short answer, and these guys care only about one thing: cash money.

The irony of the Sepp Blatter incident is this: he believes players making racist comments should be immediately suspended. He’s actually been leading a campaign to remove racism from the game of football. Yet when he does it, he refuses to step down. I guess Sepp isn’t aware of the phrase “practice what you preach”. #OccupyBlatter


Getting Messi

I’m not going to lie, soccer is the red-headed stepchild of the American sports community. It’s corrupt (yes, Sepp Blatter), it’s low scoring, and frankly the guys drop to the ground like a bunch of pussies whenever they draw the slightest of contact. You got clipped on the heels, not punched in the face, so stop grabbing your head and writhing in pain you biggity…

Did you see the women’s World Cup? Those gals had some GAME. They seldom flopped and brought a physicality and toughness that I don’t see from men’s soccer at all. It was impressive to see soccer done right, even with the unfortunate USA loss to Japan in the finals. I still maintain that the US Women’s Team can beat the US Men’s straight up.

That being said, it’s really hard to get worked up about a non-World Cup (or UEFA) game. I’ve got enough player names from (fantasy) football, basketball and baseball clogging my brain to really give a shite. It didn’t help that I recently went through season 2 of Eastbound and Down and stumbled upon this quote from Mr. Kenny Powers that gets to the heart of the American outlook on soccer:

“If there is one thing in this world I cannot stand, it is f*cking soccer, all right? And I hate when people do it around me…In America people f*cking hate soccer, and honestly, that’s the way it should be.”

It’s sad, but true. All our best athletes end up playing professional NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB. Imagine Ocho Cinco or Rondo shredding up the turf. Yeah, no look pass, angle deflection, bar down, boom. Ocho Cinco sets the record for longest soccer goal celebration and Rondo averages 3 assists a game. But we like basketball and football (the real thing) much more because we are Americans. We invent our own sports and play by our own rules.

Can you imagine watching something with no instant replay–even if it was the game decider? Hell, no. We’re Americans. We don’t trust ANYONE. OK maybe the Amica strike zone, but that’s it. America is founded upon the notion of questioning the old guard. “Don’t tread on me” is just a fancy way of saying, “That’s bullshit, ref. Open your eyes!”

Sure Europeans with their extensive social programs, safety nets and egalitarian mentalities put trust in their officials to make the right call, even though they often F it up, but Americans, we believe it when we see it (my twitter handle: @seeitbelieveit–case in point).

So, suck it England. You give us Rugby, we throw in armor and corn-feed some juggernauts, thus making football. You give us cricket, we say three days is too long for a win (Lexington) and we replace a bunch of sticks with a catcher, thus inventing baseball. One up-ed again, England.

Hell there was already a sport (aptly) named “football” and we decided to play it with our hands and call your sport “soccer” just because we’re mavericks…and we saved your asses twice from “zee germans”. Unfortunately you also gave us “American Idol” and reality TV, so I guess we’re about even.

But sometimes, just sometimes, a spectacle happens in soccer that makes even the most red-blooded of American’s say, “daaaaamn”. That’s why watching Lionel Messi is so incredible. He’s Lebron James of the soccer field. He makes ridiculous thread-the-needle passes, impossible shots and dribbles the ball like a fiend, breaking ankles along the way. Simply put, he is the BEST player in the world (period).

And as if he was aware of the soccer hate speech emanating from my computer screen last night, Messi put on a show during the Spanish Supercup:

Two goals (including the late game winner)–both off of give-and-go’s (pick and roll, baby)–and one gnarly assist which was really just him showing off his ball handling skills by drawing three defenders, making them look foolish and then passing to the wide open striker. Still, how sick was that back heel pass from Pique? I mean someone else had to do something, right? Messi = the greatest show on foreign turf.

You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. And even then (like Lebron) he’ll post up outside the box, get his feet underneath him and let a ball rip. Top shelf. Unsavable. As Mark Jackson would say, “Hand down, man down”. Wouldn’t it be great if Spanish soccer had a lockout and Messi came to play for the Revoluti…*editors note, the Spanish League is now officially on strike (I had no idea, thanks Stout). (upside down exclamation) Viva la Revolucion!

So thanks Messi for making soccer entertaining whenever you take the field. I can’t say I’m going to keep following Barca games, but I will watch the highlights. Especially if after a high-scoring, back-and-forth game, there is a BRAWL. Now that’s how you endear yourselves to Americans.  Thing is though, when we punch someone, we do it with a CLOSED fist. Looking at you, Ronaldo. Slap-chop REMIX: