Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Zidane's Head-butt

The actions of star French soccer player Zinedine Zidane at the end of the all-important - 1 billion people watching – World Cup final have been reported and discussed all over the world. And I for one was pretty upset at Zidane for head-butting another player at the end his career in a sport that could represent what we at MCSR call the “counterstory” to traditional masculinity. Soccer is poetic, it encourages teamwork and fair play more than individual scoring, aggression is penalized, and the games aren’t televised with commercial after commercial selling men the ideal that we need to be surrounded by bikini-clad women and drinking beer. And did you see that sweet hug between Italian and French goalies before the penalty kicks? And then there's Zidane, who lets his ego overcome his devotion to his community (team) of fellow players by getting thrown out of the game. Or so I thought. As it turns out it is much more complex than that, and my favorite sports commentator, Dave Zirin, has helped me see once again that what at first glance seems like an all too typical example of competition turning abusive – is actually connected to the racism that encourages behavior like Zidane’s. So please check out Zirin’s short piece Why Today I Wear My Zidane Jersey, and see how white supremacy is killing a beautiful sport.

And the website Kick It Out, soccer’s anti-racism campaign, is worth a visit as well, although I have to admit that I haven’t looked at it extensively.

Patrick Lincoln Share

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