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Monday, July 10, 2006


World Cup Quote of the Day

From an excellent article by (who else?) Dave Zirin on the question of football (known in a small part of the world as "soccer"), the World Cup, and racism:
"There is no place for racism. It is impossible to love this sport, to play it, or to support a team and be racist or xenophobic at the same time. The values conveyed by football are the exact opposite of racism. Because racism promotes exclusion and hate. Football, in contrast, brings people together to share a common pleasure. Every four years we experience a unique time in which people congregate together, take part together and celebrate together. Racists are not invited."

- Zinedine Zidane, France's legendary player who was awarded the "Golden Ball" as player of the tournament, but who was red-carded (thrown out of the game) in the second overtime period for a vicious head butt on an Italian player
What caused the foul? The Guardian says this:
Zinedine Zidane's chestbutt on Marco Materazzi was "provoked" by a comment from the Italy defender, according to the player's agent. And, while Alain Migliaccio did not know what Materazzi said, he confirmed that Zidane would reveal the exact nature of the comments soon.
The former French captain was sent off in the World Cup final - his last game before retirement - after driving his head into the chest of Materazzi in extra-time. But Zidane's agent, Migliaccio, claims Materazzi insulted Zidane, the French-born son of Algerian immigrants.
If you were watching the game, as I was, there was little doubt that it was some kind of verbal provocation which led to Zidane's action, and you can pretty much assume it was not a mild comment.

While doing some Googling (yay! it's now an official word!) for this post, I learned of a campaign going on in Europe called Stand Up Speak Up, sponsored by Nike, to fight racism in football, which has been a big problem in Europe. They were selling intertwined black and white wristbands to symbolize the campaign. I was amused, in an unfunny way, to read this in their FAQ:

Nike is aware that there are many fake versions of the Stand Up Speak Up wristband available (as well as fake version of many other coloured wristbands promoting other causes). Nike’s brand protection team are working with customs and relevant bodies across Europe to address and prevent this problem where possible.

Please be aware that any bands purchased from street traders, or that don’t carry the Nike swoosh logo on the inside of both bands, are likely to be fake. No money from this purchase will go toward the Stand Up Speak Up fund.
Yes, God forbid you should try to fight racism without using the Nike "swoosh." What ever would we do without the "Nike brand protection team"? I think I should sic the Lynne Truss punctuation team on Nike anyway, and yellow-card them (at least) for the missing comma between "Stand Up" and "Speak Up."

Be that as it may, "Stand Up, Speak Up," as I wrote just last week, are good words to live by. But don't, if you can help it, headbutt.

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