I find this a pertinent time to write on a subject which is very close…
Category: Soap Box
Or, how I learned to keep calm and trust Pep. “Messi looks to have lost…
I went to the most beautiful place in the world for the first time last week. This post isn’t a match report, although the Atletico game merits discussion. Nor is it a loving paean to Camp Nou, although I could most certainly go on (and on) about its majesty.
Instead, let’s talk about what it means to be a fan, and what it takes to be a member.
Dani Alves gets a lot of flack. Some Barcelona fans want him to shut up and sign his contract extension already. Commentators and fans think he dives and whines too much. For some reason, the Brazilian managers seem to believe Maicon is a better option on the right. I guess they haven’t been awake since the middle of the World Cup? And finally some fans seem to think he is a monkey of some kind? This morning, The Spoiler reported that our lovable Dani reported in an interview that he regularly hears racist taunts from fans in opposing stadia. To quote the man:
“Unfortunately, I have learned how to live with it. Every match the crowd goes after me. They insult me, call me monkey.”
“I don’t give it a lot of importance. I think you are only offended if you make a big deal about it. My family gets sad. They complain, but I try to distance myself from it.”
“They punish the clubs sometimes, but it’s uncontrollable. It will never end.”
This is unacceptable.
I was all ready to go. I had a decent little theory about the shirt sponsorship written down and I had some ginned up outrage planned, it was all set. Then I wake up this morning to find that everyone’s favorite benevolent football dictator (no, not Laporta, though that title might have applied last year) has used his bully pulpit to weigh in on human rights and his own ham-fisted morality ideals. Responding to criticism of FIFAs decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which has very strict laws concerning consensual homosexual conduct between adults, Blatter stated:
I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities. . . . We are definitely living in a world of freedom and I’m sure when the World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022, there will be no problems. You see in the Middle East the opening of this culture, it’s another culture because it’s another religion, but in football we have no boundaries. We open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings be it on this side or that side, be it left, right or whatever.
With these comments, Blatter has not only pissed off a ton of commentators and groups, he’s also taking FIFA down a slippery slope that I am sure is inadvisable: not only setting your games up in Qatar under highly dubious circumstances, but then butting into the personal sexual lives of fans. Er, um, like I am going to let this slide.
Tomorrow we play Real Sociedad. They’re a good squad and I’m happy to have them back in La Liga. But I’ve got other things to write about that are more important than any single league match. We’ve been talking about it for a while now and I’m sorry if you’re sick of it, but we shouldn’t let it slide, even if we’re about to take on the 6th place team (while RM are taking on the last placed team).
I first started following this club because I fell in love with their style of play, their history, and the fact that they were fan-owned and fan controlled. Later, my ties were only further entrenched by the UNICEF shirt deal, which spoke to the club’s absolute commitment to the causes of solidarity and civic duty. I loved it and didn’t think twice about the way it went down. I started blogging about the team shortly afterwards and it never crossed my mind to consider discussing the process through which these decisions were made.
How do you want to remember Joan Laporta, our former president?
If you ask Sandro Rosell, you should remember him as he is here, a champagne-soaked spendthrift who lit his cigars with 100-Euro notes from the Barca treasury. And he must be made to pay.
If you ask Joan Laporta, he’s the man who presided over the most successful sporting year in this club’s history. Even the basketball team won the equivalent of the Champions League.
If you ask me, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if Laporta did the limbo under a chain of flaming 1,000-Euro notes while gargling champagne, if he was right or wrong for doing so. At the end of the day, he did his job in my eyes, a job that Sandro Rosell should be so lucky to do as well.
But it isn’t that easy, in this world of lies, damned lies, numbers and ego.