Okay, so I have to modify my position on Zidane’s behavior as noted in yesterday’s post. According to the New York Times, there are rumors that Materrazi invoked a racist slur against Zidane and his mother. What this does is bring to the fore the fact that European soccer has a problem with race and it can, in cases, extend from coaching staff all the way down to the fan and player level. It’s not secret that players of African descent in particular have been subjected to horrible abuse by European fans.
I can certainly understand the desire to response physically to such an incident. On one hand, I don’t condone violence. However, if a racist slur was uttered, it needs to be made very clear to the person who did so that they are free to think and feel whatever they like: But keep your effin’ mouth shut. Sometimes actions speak louder and more directly than any nuanced conversation can.
Having grown up as he did–an Algerian in France–I can’t imagine that Zidane hasn’t experienced his fair share of slurs. And, if someone has so little respect for you that they feel free to disrespect your mother to your face, then they should also feel free to accept the consequences of those actions. Perhaps winning a sporting event became less important to Zidane than letting somebody know that they need to keep certain opinions to themselves.
If a racist slur was involved, then hooray for Zidane for drawing the line.