We Need To Talk About Bad Things

I use football as a diversion.

I want it to provide a distraction from regular life and to be fun. Regular life can be difficult, after all, and not a lot of fun. It is easy to get mired in what we as a species are experiencing: rising temperatures leading to catastrophic climate change (including high beer prices!), the resurgence of right-wing political movements and open-ended wars.

In the United States alone, the government is hell-bent on the evisceration of its own workings, an act of self-sabotage worthy of an ESPN “30-for-30” were it not so dangerous. Racially-motivated political attacks, voter suppression, the refusal to protect permanent residents from dismemberment at the behest of foreign governments and more proof of that self-destruction of government programs is just a short list of what has happened this week. Maybe even just in the last 24 hours. It can be hard to keep up. It seems like a distant memory when a man accused of multiple sexual assaults was confirmed to the highest Court in the country, but it was just days ago and he has already lent a hand to increasing the burden on Native Americans attempting to vote. The savvy reader will note that’s not even the voter suppression I was referring to in the previous sentences. This is.

There is a lot to worry about, especially if you are not a straight, white, upper-middle-class male such as myself. I own a home, have a good marriage, have 2 wonderful children (happy first birthday to my little one!), and have a good job. My life is relatively easy, but the global and local crises are stressors that affect me, my family, and my friends. My daily conversations are made up of tear-inducing rage-scream conversations and I am routinely up late, unable to sleep because of thoughts crashing through my mind after the latest news story. I fervently want to sit on the couch on weekends and watch 90 minutes of football without thinking about anything. Drown my sorrows in a Messi freekick, ooh and aah at an Arthur pass, and flail helplessly as Luis Suarez’s latest touch puts the ball out for a throw.

But we need to talk about Bad Things. If we don’t talk about them, they fester, they grow, they engulf Good Things. Information is good and too much information isn’t really a problem, it’s just a thing to navigate, but the ever-more-pervasive information sharing through Twitter, push notifications from news outlets, and Facebook meme posts that replaced the FWD: FWD: FWD: ALL CAPS SUBJECT! emails from your grandma have combined to amplify a lot of sordid messages.

He was a glorious player and so much fun, but now Ronaldinho has etched his name in the books as someone backing a torture promoter and homophobe. On the day of the first round of the Brazilian presidential elections, Ronaldinho, the buck-toothed party machine and product of Porto Alegre, has aligned himself with Jair Bolsonaro, a right wing demagogue whose policies essentially boil down to violence and neocon talking points. Their relationship was discussed by Jacobin, a “socialist quarterly magazine”, as early as January 2018 in a piece entitled “Ronaldinho and the Right Winger.” There was a weird rumor that Ronaldinho was going to run for public office, but nothing came of that and a lot of people, myself included, forgot about what seemed to be some weird nonsense a former player was getting drawn into.

A short list of things Bolsonaro has advocated: beating your children to ensure they don’t become gay, wishing your children would die instead of being gay, torture of political opposition, murder of political opposition instead of torture because it is more effective, and outright racism. Jacobin from that January 2018 article:

[Bolsonaro] told a PT congresswoman she wasn’t deserving of rape when she raised its use by the dictatorship against women political prisoners. This has been supplemented over the years by incidents in which he described women politicians as “sluts” and “dykes,” pronounced he would prefer to see his son dead than gay, and said black activists were “animals” who should “go back to the zoo.”

Most recently he dedicated his 2016 vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff to Carlos Brilhante Ustra, a colonel who headed the torture program during the country’s military dictatorship. Dilma, a former Marxist guerrilla, had been one of the program’s victims — a fact Bolsonaro knew too well, referring to the colonel as “the source of Dilma’s dread.”

Ronaldinho has declared himself in favor of these things by tweeting out his support of Bolsonaro’s presidential candidacy. He wants a better Brazil for everyone, he declares, conveniently forgoing any true inquiry as to exactly who counts as Brazilian in his chosen candidate’s view.

I became a fan of FC Barcelona because I was smitten by the club’s combination of dazzling play (Xavi, Iniesta, este es una fiesta!) and political awareness (mes que un club!). It felt like a beautiful oasis in the midst of a desert. It was the early 2000s in the United States and football was a reprieve from ESPN talking heads, wars in the Middle East, and my college homework. I watched everything I could get my hands on, made time in my schedule for Champions League matches, escaped on weekends to become an expert at finding working streams in an age when that was a genuine skill. And while my classes taught me history, politics, and bowling (no, seriously, I took bowling for college credit), I also learned about Catalan identity, the Barça Foundation, and the OECD ODA target. UNICEF was plastered all over the club and I swooned the swoon of the sated liberal: I was home.

It used to feel like the biggest challenge to football’s place as a retreat from the real world were hooligan fisticuffs spilling out from back alleys and injuring innocent bystanders. There were occasional moments of mayhem – Euro 2016, the Port Said massacre – and there are still plenty of fights, but the larger societal forces warping communities, political parties, and countries into zealous adherents to twisted ideologies are also at play in football’s wider context. What used to feel like a local game with insights into local tensions and communities – Athletic Bilbao vs Real Sociedad! Celta Vigo vs Deportivo La Coruña! – has become a continent-striding colossus trying to suck up resources in a quest for domination.

It seemed like my favorite club was combating this. There was the UNICEF agreement and the push to bring the charitable foundation – Fundació Barça – to the fore. The club contributes 0.7% of its corporate income to fight global economic disparity, which for FC Barcelona in 2017 amounted to almost €5 million. That is not exactly chump change although it wouldn’t even get you Douglas in today’s market. Still, it is something and something is far more than nothing. FC Barcelona is, after all, the self-appointed club that Stands for Something.

The Foundation uses sports, and I’ll just quote the mission statement in its entirety here, “to provide support to the most vulnerable children and youth – through sports and values-based education—with the goal of contributing to a more egalitarian and inclusive society.” This is an extremely laudable goal and one that should be supported generously by a globally recognized brand that has earned more since I started writing this than I will make over the next 6 months at my desk job. As a Barça soci, I contribute indirectly to the Foundation and its lofty goals of, and here I’ll just quote the Our Commitment section:

We are aware that social problems like the exclusion and marginalization of children and youth stem from social instability and violence. That’s why — as a highly committed and responsible organization teaching the values inherent in sports — we strive to leverage the strength of our world-renowned brand to bring about change across the globe.

The global reach of Barcelona’s social media is in the hundreds of millions. To be allied with Barcelona is to be given a platform. Barcelona’s spokesperson, Josep Vives, has stated that Barcelona is against Bolsonaro, but also stated that Ronaldinho has the right to make his voice heard how he wishes. Both can be true, but it cannot be that Barça – mes que un club – simply shrugs and moves on. To appeal to the sense of community, togetherness, and protection for the vulnerable as a marketing gimmick and then to raise a few eyebrows and move along when the highest profile ex-player in the club’s history serving as a global ambassador endorses the ultra-right wing, is a betrayal.

It is a betrayal of the members, of the fans, of the vulnerable.

The Barça Foundation, whose website is lots of hashtags and pictures of Pique laughing with children, boldly states “TAKE SIDES!” in all caps over children running. Take sides, then, Barcelona. And the take the side against authoritarianism, against homophobia, against racism, against misogyny, against machismo, against hatred, against political violence, and against torture. Take sides.

Remove Ronaldinho as global ambassador for the club and the Foundation. Speak up for the people you claim to value, whose vulnerability you speak of in your very mission statement, and whose exclusion and marginalization you decry in your commitment statement.

Take sides. Do the right thing.

And then let us continue to speak of the bad things, of those things that threaten us all, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

21 Comments

  1. October 17, 2018

    I would like to say here that I didn’t mention Rivaldo in this piece, despite his endorsement of Bolsonaro. I also read that Neymar lent him his support, but I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t do any research into that and Neymar is no longer a Barça player, so I felt more justified in ignoring it. It would have been too large of a piece had I not done so.

    Rivaldo’s relationship with Barcelona is not as clear-cut as Ronaldinho’s and Rivaldo was not *just* at an unveiling of a court alongside Puyol (the nutmeg was cute!) as part of his ambassadorial role with the club and foundation. If Rivaldo also supports Bolsonaro, I am in favor of cutting whatever ties Barcelona does have with that player.

    And for the record, I am not at all here for “it’s his opinion, he can say what he wants” — fine, say it. And Barcelona does not need to sweep that under the rug or continue to work with people who support such policies, such racism, and such unambiguous hatred. It is unacceptable to support someone like Bolsonaro, no matter how popular he may be in his home country. His politics should never, ever be aligned with Barcelona. Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, etc should feel absolutely free to support him. And I will feel absolutely free to condemn them for it.

    • mvarfi
      October 17, 2018

      I am no Barca soci, just a lowly, year-and-a-half old fan. Your justified outcry is begging for a link to a petition to strip Ronaldinho of his global ambassador status. I would sign it.

      PS. I plan on applying for a commitment card next spring when I visit Barcelona…

      • October 17, 2018

        This is a good idea. I will look into it.

        Also, there are no “lowly” fans. Only fans. And people who aren’t fans. That’s it. Fan hierarchies (“members are better fans than non members!”) are bad and counterproductive.

      • mvarfi
        October 17, 2018

        Let me clarify… I meant “lowly” in the sense that I have less leverage than a soci. That’s it.

  2. Frank Stain
    October 17, 2018

    As I watch a Saudi Arabian dignitary present some plastic trophy to Brazil after a made-up tournament, I’m reminded of how much football has changed in recent decades. Like you, I also watch to get away from the ugliness of much of contemporary life. But it’s increasingly impossible to ignore just how ugly football has become in many respects in that time as well. The behavior of Ronaldinho and Rivaldo reflects how footballers themselves have changed. I’m older than you are. I remember watching Cyril Regis play for West Brom in the late seventies. He was a fabulous player, strong and powerful, but with a clever touch as well. He was also a trained electrician. He used to drink in a local pub, often generously giving his time to local fans. Those were the days when clubs belonged to the local community, and players were not distant athletes, coddled, protected, and kept apart from the masses. There was a sense of community among fans and players.
    Nowadays, players have become mercenaries who are taught to see clubs as institutions they have a right to extract as much private wealth from as possible. They do not belong to the club and the community any more. They are part of a wealthy, global elite. In these circumstances, it’s not surprising that footballers join other rich people in supporting right wing fascism. Unless they have solid values that ground them beyond their vast wealth, this is the mean to which they will revert.
    By all means, Barca should condemn Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and strip them of whatever associations they have with the club. But the ugliness now goes very deep, and we will need more radical solutions.

    • October 17, 2018

      Thanks for the thoughts, Frank. I think there’s a lot here and while I don’t agree with all of it (I think athletes should get paid a lot), it’s true that there have been structural changes with a variety of impacts on how we watch and experience football. I’ll try to write some more thoughts down for another post since there is a whole hell of a lot there to digest and discuss.

  3. ardnen
    October 17, 2018

    I fully endorse the sentiment and message of the article. Very thoughtful and well written, needless to say, as both Isaiah and Kevin do amazing work in this blog.
    Like many fans born in the 90s, Ronaldinho was one of the major factors that brought me towards Barcelona. However, once I was at the doorstep of being a fan of the club, the societal ‘baggage’ that club seemed to care about, along with its history and role within Catalan identity and a big UNICEF logo in the jersey is what really convinced me. Sure, the football has been really really fun but the reason I can stick to this club even when these generational players, including Messi retire/d (shudder at the thought of it thought), is precisely because of values that I find endearing to me. That is precisely why I didn’t follow out of the club when Ronaldinho or Pep left, or when xavi iniesta retired. It was and never is just about football, at least for me and I am certain that this is a commonly shared opinion among many fans.

    That being said, and as many can attest, the club has slowly deteriorated into a hollow behemoth of just a football superclub. Sure, we still donate to UNICEF and if I am not wrong, the logo is still there in its miniscule form at the backside. However, the actions that the club has been taking–catering to millions of global fans, and shiny trophies at the end of season, along with the new financial climate where certain clubs seem to have endless pool of cash, has been nothing short of disappointing. It’s analogous to a case where, you like a person who he/she is, end up getting married, but then he/she gets different ideas of who they should be and end up with botox and what not to completely change themselves. You stay with them anyways but it’s disappointing nonetheless.

    Just to conclude, I wholeheartedly agree with Isaiah on this and I strongly feel the club should do the right thing this time and kick both Rivaldo and Ronaldinho out from whatever associations they have with the club. Else, it’s absolutely pointless presenting the club as “mes que un club”. It’s an insult to other institutions that maybe don’t have the same financial clout as ours but genuinely work towards promoting what our club has in our mission statement.

    If I haven’t said it already. Thanks again for writing this. I feel you man with all you said. Hang in there.

    • October 17, 2018

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words.

  4. Jim
    October 17, 2018

    Had a quiet day today so spent the time, as usual, catching up on the blog and a quiet gym workout. As I pedalled away I was thinking about this article and the more I thought about it the more confused I became ( yes, it happens a lot at my age).

    To start with, R10 is, by some way, the most naturally talented footballer I have ever seen.

    It would also seem that the person he supports in Brazil is a bit of a low life.

    That was easy. But what follows becomes more and more confusing for me. I can See a conversation between him and the club which goes along the lines of we can’t live with these views or any of our ambassadors holding them in public. Now that you have made them public, and they conflict fundamentally with our worldview, it will be difficult for you to continue working for us. I have an urge to go along with that.

    Ok, so am I then saying that only people who have the same political views as me can work in my organisation ? Or is it just if I find their views completely intolerable, or maybe largely so ? That takes us into hatespeak and, again, there are probably some things which go beyond the pale. But who decides where that line is ? Is saying something the same as doing something unacceptable ? Is holding such a view but not speaking publicly about it acceptable ? Is working for someone who holds that view acceptable ?

    Does Xavi working for Qatar mean he should never be allowed to return to the club ?

    Is it acceptable that a person with no obvious moral compass should be allowed to lead the USA ? Is his behaviour better, worse or about the same as R10 ? What about those who voted for him? If they did so to get rid of “foreigners” are they culpable ? What about those who didn’t vote at all? They facilitated his arrival or at least did nothing to stop it.

    I don’t like thinking about these things because I can’t draw lines. There are people in my country who voted for Brexit and are quite clear that it is to get rid of of ” foreigners”. I find that deeply troublesome but what is the best way for me to deal with it ? Is it all out confrontation ? Is that really working in the USA ? Is it dialogue or can you not have dialogue with someone of those opinions ?

    What about the club ? You won’t find a club in the world that does more charitable work than ours. We’ve all seen little things as well over the last few years which warm our heart about the club . Shakira is just about to open her seventh school in Columbia in partnership with the Barca foundation. Yet, they too, aren’t doing enough.

    They should have involved themselves in Catalan politics because they are a Catalan club. So, should all Scottish football clubs have come out in favour of independence ? No, Barca are not any different. History is behind a lot of what clubs do. Rangers want to keep the union, Celtic supporters maybe lean the other way ( not sure) but the rest of the club’s stayed silent as they should and as Barcelona should. You can’t leap in and take sides when your employees, fans and even the local populace are divided on the issue. ( not the violence,mind you, but the club have been clear that that was out of order. )

    I’m not a soci. I was about to join when Rosell closed the doors. Didn’t like it but if that’s what the locals wanted that’s okay by me and the route is so convoluted I probably won’t join now. What about the growing local view that they don’t like tourists ? However, those who are have joined always had a recourse if they feel deeply. They can choose to end their membership or they can attempt to change those in power and if there are enough they’ll get their way.

    No, the deeper issue for me is how we tackle this epidemic of nationalist, intolerant, populism which is sweeping the planet. I don’t have any ideas but I’m not sure not allowing people to hold views we deem unacceptable is a very profitable one. In my view, it certainly won’t work from the top down. We need to educate our kids to be better than that, to disagree without it becoming a fight or requiring consequences, to take part in elections, to look for consensus and to beat such views with reason and tolerance.

    R10 always seemed like a happy go lucky guy to me. The question should be why he holds these unpleasant views, why do my countrymen want rid of other peoples and why do some of my friends want to break away so badly from the rest of the U.K that it leads to arguments when it comes up ? The belief that we can work together to improve things seems to be losing in favour of I’ll only do what is best for me and do down or get rid of anyone who holds a different view.

    Maybe the way we deal with disagreements mean that this blog should be required reading in schools ? Reminds me of when we started having trouble with FB and Twitter in school. I was part of an initiative to role play with the kids different ways of handling arguments and disagreements then sitting them down afterwards and asking what worked better. It went great until the plenary session . . .

    A final thought which occurred to me earlier today. Knowing what I know about R10’s views would I still watch him on the TV if he was still playing ? Does it make me shallow or able to keep a sense of perspective if the answer is “Definitely” ?

    Apologies. I’m no clearer now. Maybe I need someone to tell me what to think. 🙂

    • October 17, 2018

      I think there is a lot to think about in your comments, but I think the answer to your main question is that Ronaldinho is not an employee of the club, but rather a representative. He has been hired to be the global face of an organization and if he turns around and uses his platform to espouse views that are — and I have absolutely no trouble saying this — bad, dangerous, and disgusting, then he should not be the face of an organization.

      I think it is fair to call out Xavi, but the problem is that Barcelona itself has signed up with Qatar. Should we kick everyone who negotiated that deal out of the club? Well, uh, I would go with yes. It is, I think, one thing to go and make money on your own playing football in a repressive country and it is another to advocate for repression. I think that is why I hold the affiliation with Qatar against Pep far more than I do Xavi, though perhaps that is splitting hairs.

      As for your last question about watching, I think we are fortunate to be in a moment where we do not have to choose between Ronaldinho the player and Ronaldinho the asswipe political douchebag. We can just say “you were the former and now you’re the latter.”

      There are lines we all get to draw and I draw one at being a “global ambassador” and then going to spout garbage. I also fully reserve the right to spit venom at any active player who espouses disgusting views. And make no mistake about it, this is not simply “I think Medicare is good” or “Progressive tax rates should be X and not Y” — this is fundamentally about the rights of marginalized people *to exist*, about rhetoric that harkens *directly* back to a time when you could be murdered by the state for having the temerity to think you were a full human. Ronaldinho enjoys the ability to think for himself without the threat of state-sponsored violence specifically because men like Jair Bolsonaro were thrown out of power.

      If you want to pillory Xavi for signing with Qatar, I am with you. There is a lot to parse here, though, and I can fully understand not trying to tackle all of that at once.

      • October 17, 2018

        For me it is very clear. As the club spox Josep Vives said, those views are anathema to what the club stands for. That he went on to support Ronaldinho’s free speech is laudable, but misguided.

        To Jim’s point, an employee doesn’t have to march in political lock step with an employer, but when the person in question is the global ambassador of a club that purports to have values, get him out.

        Josep Sunyol was executed by fascists. As amazing as Ronaldinho was, there shoukdn’t be any question about severing ties to him.

  5. Víctor
    October 17, 2018

    The twitter user lucasammr (yes, I know he’s kinda an idiot at times) says that many of the people that support Bolsonaro are people that fall for the fake-news his party generates in Brazil… including Ronaldinho and Rivaldo.

    Still, these two should know better… they are public figures afterall and Barcelona is an important part of their careers… and the club should severely cut ties with them… mainly Ronaldinho, since he’s an ambassador of Barça…

    I also find quite ironic that there are many Trump supporters that are also Barcelona fans in the US… guess they are just fans of Messi or the playing style the team developed under Rijkaard/Guardiola…

    • October 17, 2018

      I’ll admit I know none of those Trump supporting Barça fans, but the Boixos Nois are real and their skinhead tropes fall perfectly into line with much of the Trumpian rhetoric. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising if some of them are supporters…

    • October 17, 2018

      Hogwash. There isn’t enough bogus news sources to obscure what his candidacy is about. We sometimes like to asdume athletes are idiots when it suits our purposes. They know exactly what he stands for.

      • Víctor
        October 19, 2018

        @Isaiah: well, I have to clarify, I exaggerated somewhat… there aren’t a lot of Trump&Barça supporters, but there are several of them… either way, I just find it quite ironic…

        @Kxevin: don’t get me wrong, as I said… both Ronaldinho and Rivaldo should know better… but I just find it interesting that, even with that profile, many brazilians voted for him, so I guess we can’t just underestimate the influence of his propaganda machine over there…

        If I had to make an assumption I’d say that their propaganda machine made Brazilians think that if they voted other way they’d end up like Venezuela, Cuba or something like that… that’s one of the most common “arguments” the right wing parties use in Latin America…

  6. Jim
    October 17, 2018

    But enough fake news outlets, apparently, to fool a sizeable part of the American electorate ? The promise of a better future through the scapegoating of a minority has happened often enough in history for us to appreciate that it is a powerful message and ordinary people can get drawn in quite easily. I’ve not got R10 down as the sharpest tool in the box ( maybe wrongly) but I’m not up on this enough to know why he thinks like that.

    Isaiah, I don’t blame Xavi at all for going to work in Qatar. I was merely trying to point out how hard I find it to know where to draw these lines between acceptable and not. I’m not sure what Pep has said so can’t comment. However, we are currently seeing the American Government attempting to support a preposterous tale from Saudi Arabia , a country whose record on human rights is maybe second only to Attila the Hun. Are they better than Qatar and is our response only one of degree or whether it is publicised or not ? We knowingly trade with any number of dodgy regimes.

    R10 is an ambassador for the club so I can see the argument for us severing ties but if he were, say the VP of a large multinational ? How about a department head advocating a far right right ( or left) grouping ? In my time in education I’ve even seen teachers hauled over the coals for comments in social media which the local council didn’t agree with. Where does it stop ? At how low a level is an employee allowed to publicly hold ” unacceptable” views ? At what point do we have the strength to allow people to hold those views while challenging them in any way we can ?

    Kxevin, there are loads of examples throughout history where not agreeing with your employer’s viewpoint has resulted in loss of employment. I appreciate that that is your view, and I would agree with it, but that’s not a statement of fact; rather of how we’d like it to be.

    None of this is actually a matter of fact. It’s one of context, world viewpoint and where we as individuals or countries want to draw our lines. One man’s slave workers is another’s separation of children from their families. The tragedy of our times for me is that consensus and working together are disappearing allowing those with strident voices to dominate. I’m just not sure that trying to suppress them works. We didn’t listen to the part of our nation that worried about immigration, the EU decided it couldn’t give any ground on the matter so the unlistened to gave the rest of us a bloody nose at the ballot box with Brexit. I’ve no reason to think they are bad people but they were drawn in by the rhetoric of the far right and so we all suffer. Once this is over, we’ll be fighting another Nationalist referendum, a more difficult one this time.

    I’m now depressing myself . . . I need Isaiah’s distraction back.

  7. October 18, 2018

    Very timely article Isaiah.
    Considering Bolsanaro is the favourite of the Oligarch’s in Brazil, am not really surprised that these beloved players of ours, now multi millionaires, are supporting him.
    While Roussef’s impeachment was a legal coup and Lula’s arrest a judicial coup, this looks more like the victory of the main stream media, which is controlled by the Oligarchy. The middle class always falls prey to the propaganda by the main stream. Am really eager to see what happens in the second round. Whats happening in Brazil has lot of similarity to my country. Soon they too might have a fascist as their leader
    I do have a doubt that this could be a case of persuading a celebrity multi millionaire – by hook or crook – to dance to your tunes to use their public appeal I say this from what I see in my country) These people are very good in such tactics.
    Franco flags are reappearing in Spain too.. I think, club did the right thing. Barcelona cannot stand for fighting against Fancoists in Spain, and have its Ambassadors supporting another, even if in another continent.

  8. Khing_prince
    October 18, 2018

    Couldn’t help but sense something deeper, something personal in this article. Sorry, but I find this article trivial, it’s just a matter of your morality and where each of us draw the line, but since we are already on the subject, lets open up those can of worms. You seem to forget that this is the same Barcelona that signed Suarez and Vidal, when the latter was charged for assault in a nightclub and drink driving while the former was accused of racism,bullying and biting, This is the same Barcelona that was once deeply associated with Qatar, That was accused of malpratice in the signing of Neymar, The same Barcelona that was handed a transfer ban for irregularities, The same Barcelona whose ex president is in jail, A club that also has ties with Arda Turan. My point here is we are just fans and we should concentrate more on what happens on the pitch and not get drawn on the unapt so called “bad things”, if not we get stuck in a paradox asking ourselves trivial questions about what is good or bad.

    • PPos
      October 18, 2018

      You can’t just be a fan of something and turn a blind eye to what is going underneath the surface. That’s how fascism wins, how many Germans were just fans of Hitler and didn’t do anything about it? and then the entire world is engulfed in flames.

      Bolsonaro is a dangerous man getting ready to send Brasil into a new age of Nazism.

  9. Khing_prince
    October 19, 2018

    And what are you going to do? Nothing, Which results in unnecessary insomnias. On an English barcelona blog, what can we do? I for one prefer to flare at Suarez’s bad touches than to get myself tangled up with power politics that I have no atom of control to influence what happens, After all there’s freedom of speech and vote, who says it’s only white evangelicals supporting him, I use Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Felipe Meno as examples. I didn’t say we should turn a blind eye, I said we should not get too engulfed by it.

  10. socrates
    October 19, 2018

    Thank you, Isaiah. Excellent and necessary piece. Ronaldinho should not be an ambassador for FC Barcelona and an “ambassador” for Bolsanaro at the same time.
    ( to none in particular: I think it would be a mistake to see Bolsanaro as merely a tropical Trump – he is more the inheritor of the military/dictatorial regimes in the southern core in the ’70s and as such, terrifying; to fotobirajesh – you nailed it by framing it about “candidate of the oligarch’s in Brazil”, and I imagine that is what attracts incredibly wealthy Ronaldinho to his side; to Jim – such devastatingly clear football analysis always and yet what muddled thinking over this crucial issue. Sorry!)

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