Wednesday 16 November 2011

A Man’s World

It is pleasantly surprising that the likes of Sepp Blatter and Silvio Berlusconi can still outrage people given the precedents both have set over their respective public lives. The most shocking thing about either is that they have both survived so long (ok: SB looks like he hasn’t survived but I wouldn’t put it past him to reanimate – or travel back in time to change the present/future to get himself back in power). And even that is not that shocking – merely a testament to what money and the offer of power and importance (and broadcasting football) can get people.

Berlusconi has always had the cover of his persona/actual personality to help mask his evil – who can hate a Prime Minister who simulates fucking a female Traffic Warden from behind when on official business? I am almost laughing out loud thinking about his cheeky antics. The traffic warden incident is only mentioned because I saw a clip of it on something the other day. It is nigh on impossible to list the misdemeanours of SB. As I’m not au fait with Italian politics, I’m more aware of his faux pas (promise to stop using French phrases every other word) with regards promiscuity and sexism than I am his shortcomings as a leader…though one imagines being Italian hasn’t helped him.

Blatter on the other hand..well he should just have been canned years ago shouldn’t he? But he hangs on like Frank Sobotka wanting to finish what he has started (owning all the football and money in the world, in the case of Blatter: Sobotka was just misguided). His latest thoughts on racism in football are typically ignorant of reality. And his reluctance to contradict himself is – at best – half-hearted. With one media offensive and his defence of the inevitable backlash, he said both racism is not an issue AND quoted the long list of things he has done/continues to do counteract racism in football.

He should probably have just remained silent on the issue if he didn’t want to come across as an idiot. He came across as an idiot though (by saying his opinion). If a man talks that amount of nonsense speaking his mind it is probably odd that he is, effectively, the most powerful man in world football. Yes, even more powerful than David Beckham. Or is he right? Are black footballers making a lot of fuss and nonsense about being racially insulted by opponents? Is it ok for a man to sat whatever he wants to another man in the confines of a football game even though if they said it elsewhere they would be liable to prosecution? (And if it was a supporter saying it to a player they would be liable to a life ban.) He is the kind of person who would say that he would be fine with a black player calling him ‘an albino cow bastard’ in the heat of a game – as long as they shook hands at the end.

No. He’s wrong isn’t he? He is also wrong to suggest it should also be forgotten about with a handshake at the end of the game. Like it or not football is massively influential and – regardless of what I think of players being forced to be role models off the pitch – the players have a standard to live up to on the pitch. There is the hope that these standards shouldn’t need to be enforced on adults in 2011 but clearly this is not the case. Racial epithets carry with them much more than a derogatory reference – there is a whole other level of meaning and signification regarding the social prejudices (and worse) certain racial groups have suffered in recorded history. Maybe wiping everyone’s memory and making everyone equal might work (it wouldn’t) in Blatter’s head – followed by a quick handshake obviously – the real world is not really the place for Blatter’s rampant idealism*.

Decades of people with agreeing with him clearly hasn’t helped what (you imagine) was a significant ego in the first place. He doesn’t seem to happy about Rio Ferdinand questioning his politics and media savvy (Rio both had a pop at Blatter’s statements, on Twitter, and also said Blatter’ defence statement being accompanied by a picture of him hugging a black man, basically just the PR version of arguing that you can’t be racist because you have black friends). So, he seems to be prepared to take the moral high ground on race in football over people who actually suffer the hatred themselves (Rio was not the only one speaking out – but they are all the same aren’t they, footballers, so I have just used him as a reference).

Speaking of a modern accepting approach check out the comment by IR1993 on this video. He definitely understands the concept of respect. [Do I have to explain why I was watching this? No? Good. I will anyway: we were discussing the contradictions between our politics/views and liking hiphop music, particularly old school stuff, and I was saying how this was a great example of a song with excellent beats/word play but not really something I could advocate listening to as a wishy-washy egalitarian. But do (listen to – not advocate).

*small-minded ignorance.


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