A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

sábado, abril 16, 2005

GOAL! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! And so forth.

I suspect you don't give a damn about soccer. Don't like the low scores, the endless mid-field turnovers, the incessant chants of fans. But how about racism? Or fascism? Some of its last sporting adherents roam the soccer pitch.

Consider the following three stories:

STORY #1: DO THE MONKEY

(from the Los Angeles Times): A Racial Wrangle in Brazil Rouses Crowds Far Beyond Soccer Field

If you can't access the link because of the Times' blasted password policy, visit Bug-Me-Not and find the keys you need. Did it? You thief, you. For those good, honest folks, the summary of the story is that an Argentine soccer player was arrested in Brazil after referring to a Brazilian opponent with a racial slur. The Times--moral guardians that they are--never reveal what the epithet was, although the following graphs allude to the lingo:

Racial insults are against the law in Brazil and Argentina, though the latter is known as one of the least ethnically tolerant places in Latin America. Argentina's sports community was up in arms over the arrest. The country has a minuscule black population and racial attitudes here often seem a throwback to an earlier time. When Argentina played Nigeria in the 1996 Olympic gold medal match in Atlanta, a front-page headline in the Buenos Aires sports tabloid Ole declared: "The Monkeys Are Coming."

Typical liberal hyperbole? Let's just say when I hung out with the local Argentines during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, "monkey" was a compliment.

STORY #2: DO THE MASH

Ustedes probably heard or saw Inter Milan fans throw flares on the field during a game. An excerpt from the International Herald Tribune piece:

As objects began to fly onto the field from the Curva Nord, the Inter fans in the more expensive seats on either side of the ground began to vote with their feet and head for the exits. They stopped when the desultory rain of plastic bottles and oranges was replaced by a more systematic bombardment with far more spectacular and dangerous ammunition - a sudden, and remarkably accurate, fusillade of identical red flares or fireworks. Reuters counted more than 30. All of them landed in the Milan penalty area, covering it with a roiling sea of gray smoke and red flames. One of the flares hit Dida on the shoulder. He fell writhing to the ground. Merk halted play. The Milan players gathered out of range in the center of the field. The Inter players pleaded with their fans.

There was break of 20 minutes. In that time, firefighters cleared the flaming objects with practiced skill. Much of the stadium, except the upper decks of Curva Nord and the Curva Sud, filled with celebrating AC Milan fans, emptied. Dida was treated and replaced by Christian Abbiati. But even the Inter fans who had stayed wanted to see no more. As soon as Merk blew his whistle to re-start play, flares flew down again. At almost exactly the time the match was scheduled to end, the German referee abandoned it with 73 minutes played.

And Oakland Raiders fans think they're tough.

STORY #3: DO THE JERK

Probably my favorite sports story this year--soccer player--scratch that, soccer star--Paolo Di Canio gets fined for celebrating a goal with a fascist salute.

From the BBC:

Lazio striker Paolo Di Canio has been fined 10,000 euros (£7,000) for the fascist-style salute he made in the derby win over Roma in January. The Italian Football League also handed Lazio a fine of the same amount. Ex-West Ham United star Di Canio, 36, had claimed that the gesture was a misrepresentation by the cameraman. But the League disciplinary commission ruled on Thursday that the gesture had "immediately and unequivocally recalled a precise political ideology".

Don't know how to post pictures here yet--used to!--so click on the link. I promise you the best jutting political salute since this one.

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