Isaiah will be up with your preview shortly and Kevin has already told you the amazing news that Abidal has been cleared to practice (though he is unlikely to play this weekend due to fatigue issues). Unfortunately the biggest news of the days is the ongoing saga of Sergio Busquets’ comment or non-comment to Real Madrid player Marcelo during last week’s Champion’s League Semifinal First Leg.
Preeminent Sports Illustrated and Guardian football columnist Sid Lowe came away believing the weight of the evidence from Pep’s press conference today all but confirmed that some comments were made. From Pep at his press conference (translated), emphasis on the most interesting comments:
“I know these players. They are an example of professionalism,” said the Barcelona coach. “They love this sport. Some of them, during the game, can make a mistake but as players they are exemplary both for Spain and for Barcelona.”
Asked if he would punish Busquets he said: “We are not proud when they make mistakes but I know these players. If we do something wrong, then Uefa have to decide. What is in the past is in the past. It won’t happen again.”
From his Twitter, @sidlowe:
Pep Guardiola’s comments tonight appeared to confirm Busquets racist remark did happen. So, action presumably will (and should) happen
1. Let me clarify for those who don’t seem to understand ‘appeared to confirm’. Pep did not say Busquets made racist remarks, but asked
2. directly about it, he didn’t deny it and said that his players can make mistakes on pitch and are not proud of those mistakes.
3. It would of course still be helpful to have an explicit admittance/denial, though.
Many suggesting alternative interprets. There’s a certain ambiguity but i think what Pep said (and didnt say) implies confirmation
Mr. Lowe has never been one to pull punches, engage in oversimplifications, or get carried away with the mob and when he goes out on a limb like this, it usually means there is something to it. I am sure you have watched the video and possible made up your mind. Personally I cannot make up mine, mostly because I do not speak Spanish and am a terrible lip reader.
Until we know more, this blog will continue to operate under the familiar guise of “guilty until proven innocent” for Busquets. I would hope that a full investigation is under way by UEFA and the club and that if he is found to have been innocent, then Madrid should be punished for such lies, because falsely calling someone a racist is abhorrent. However, if Busquets did make these comments, then I believe he should be fined, made to offer a proper apology, and suspended or removed from the team. I personally vote for removal, since we have so many players from different nationalities, specifically 2 Brazilians, a Malawian, and I have no idea how he could look them in the eye again. But, I am not the final arbiter there, that is Sandro and Pep and his teammates. If they can forgive him, then that is excellent for them and I would hope he could continue as a productive member of the team, though I doubt I could forgive him (not that anyone cares about my forgiveness)
But make no mistake, racism is intolerable in any form, joking or serious. It has no place in the game or anywhere else for that matter. To be sure we stand by Busquets and the team until proven otherwise, but if the worst is true, then it is an action that should be swiftly condemned and is unacceptable, period. This is just an update of the current situation as it stand. NOTHING IS OFFICIAL YET. Please keep the comments germane, intelligent, and friendly.
This has been transcribed by a friend who watched the press conference:
“Pep was talking about the Pedro incident with regards to the quote “We are not proud when they make mistakes, but I know these players….etc”. He was asked by a lady who asked him what he thought about Pedro! grabbing his face. She outright called it pathetic and Pep said they weren’t proud but it’s in the past and he knows his players.”
Apparently, it’s being mixed up with the Busi quote where he was asked what Barca would do if Busi was found guilty:
“If proven guilty, we would take appropriate measures, but the players are honest”