Monday, June 18, 2012

They get paid to play, not act like civil rights advocates

While doing our grocery shopping last Sunday, Squirrel and I got into a debate with each other over the righteousness of players leaving the field during a Euro 2012 game if they experienced racist chants aimed at them from spectators.
Though I know very little—and care absolutely nothing—about soccer, I am aware that Euro 2012 is taking place across the major metropolises of Poland and Ukraine.  Black players on the Dutch team, and Italy's black striker Mario Balotelli, have had abuse hurled at them from Polish, Ukrainians, Russians and Croatians.  In other words, the "exotic" team members were taunted by the usual-suspect hillbillies of Europe.
UEFA President—the boss of European soccer—Michel Platini introduced a policy in which referees can halt the game if the audience misbehaves but players would be penalized for leaving the field in protest.  It's a decision I heartily agree with.
As we stood in the canned vegetables aisle, the wife said she stood with players who left the field if they suffered any abuse.
"I admire that stand," I said. "But these men are making millions. For that amount of money, I expect them to remain on the field and continue playing their silly little elementary school game for which they're so richly rewarded. It's the least they can do."
"Aren't you sympathetic?" Squirrel asked me.
"I don't blame them for being angry, but that ought to really motivate them to put on a performance that would force the audience bullies to respect them. Here's what I'd tell them: Stay in the game, earn your pay, and do your best to prove your worth in front of your detractors. Prove that you're a man and fight harder. Don't just walk off the field like a wuss."
Honestly, dear reader, how sickening is it for some spoiled-brat soccer player to take it upon himself to march off the field, carrying an invisible torch for civil rights? It was ordinary folks, anonymous working men and women, who fought the battle for civil rights. More to the point, if the battle for civil rights had not been waged by the downtrodden man-in-the-street, these black players would not be playing for European soccer teams, driving Ferraris and living in mansions as a result.
Good for Mssr. Platini for not tolerating any walkouts.
"Well, what if you were out there playing and had people screaming at you, calling you a 'thick Mick' or something like that?" Squirrel queried me as we stood in the check-out lane.
"Hon, seriously: For that kind of money, you can call me a thick Mick, you can call me an imperalist Yank, you can me Stumpy Short-ass, I don't care. Just don't call me late for the free bar. I would know that I'm living much, much better than anyone in that audience, and that's all I would need to motivate me."
I think wifey got the point after that.


goddessdivine said...

You make a good point. They get paid millions to play. And really, they are the better person for sticking it out and taking it like a man. That's takes real courage.

Sidenote: I went to a Real Salt Lake soccer game last month. I got bored. Seriously--no scoring for like 45 minutes. Yawn.

Nightdragon said...

Apparently, soccer afficianados like the "thrill" of almost scoring, of almost pulling a goal off. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, but it does nothing for me. I can only watch a ball being kicked up and down a field repeatedly for so long (i.e., about a minute or two) before I completely tune out.

The Atomic Mom said...

Hill Billies of Europe ... best thing I have ever heard! Make sure to tell Uncle Jed and Jethro they have relatives in the Ukraine.

Nightdragon said...

I'll tell them, but I'm not sure Jed and Jethro know what the Ukraine is.