Soccer, aka “football” to the rest of the world, is the most popular sport on planet earth. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, World Cup soccer is in full swing, and has more drama then Snookie and her cohorts on “Jersey Shore.”
Episode number 1: Unfortunately, team USA has been on the back of a hand slap a few times already. In their game against Slovenia, veteran referee, and calling his first World Cup match, Koman Coulibaly blatantly robbed USA of their go-ahead goal by calling an offsides infraction (that no one else apparently saw). Afterward, Coulibaly did not offer an explanation as to how he saw what he did. Since then, the soccer governing body, FIFA, has not allowed Coulibaly to referee any matches in the next round.
Episode number 2: In the recent USA vs. Algeria vs. the referee game, horrendous calls reared their ugly heads once again. USA’s Clint Dempsey scored in the 20th minute, but the referee waved that goal off because he claimed Dempsey was offsides. The television replay clearly shows that he was even with the defender; hence the goal should have been allowed. USA, feeling like a jilted lover, stayed focused and scored their winning goal during the excess time.
Episode number 3: After the loss to USA, Algerian player Rafik Saifi slapped a female writer across the face as he walked through the interview area. Algerian journalist Asma Halimi, who hit him back, said the slap was unprovoked. Witnesses also confirmed the unfortunate event. She had previously written an article for her newspaper and apparently this non-starting player had a difference of opinion.
Episode number 4: The man who will definitely be left off the “sportsmanship of the year “ ballot has got to be France’s coach Raymond Domenech. Not only did he call his team “unspeakably stupid”, he sent home player Nicolas Anelka early, the team boycotted a training session, and the sponsors dropped France like overcooked french fries.
When the final whistle blew in South Africa’s 2-1 win over France, South African coach Carlos Alberto Parreira offered the customary handshake. Although Domenech shook hands with others around him, he refused Parreira’s hand, instead wagging his finger and giving him a tongue-lashing. Unapologetic, Domenech refused to answer any of the media’s questions regarding his behavior. Being such a disgrace for the entire world to see, one would think that Domenech attended the Bobby Knight “principles of coaching” class.
Round one of World Cup soccer is almost complete. With our collective breaths held, and DVR’s set to record the upcoming episodes….err, matches, the shenanigans of the referees, coaches, and players will continue to entertain. Stay tuned…
Why do some celebrities get charged with a crime, and others donʼt? Is it because of their specific occupation, their gender, how much money they make, or how “beloved” or important they are to their fans and judiciaries?
Last month actress Heather Locklear was allegedly behind the wheel, near her home, when she hit a street sign and left the scene without notifying anyone. A neighbor reported the accident the next day, whereupon police located her vehicle and matched some debris that was left at the scene. Locklear was arrested, issued a misdemeanor citation, and her case is still in revue for a felony DUI.
A recently published book by Steve Helling called Tiger: The Real Story gives details as to what happened back in November 2009, the night when Tigerʼs SUV met up with a tree on his street. He also details why Woods wasnʼt charged with a DUI despite evidence to the contrary.
After Woodʼs smashup, his wife Elin told police that he had been drinking. To those attending him at the scene, it was apparent that Woods was impaired and unfit to operate a vehicle. “I would bet everything I own that he was not fit to drive,” says one of the officers who investigated the case. “But Iʼll never be able to prove it, because our hands were tied. The powers that be didnʼt want to tangle with Tiger; they just wanted the situation to go away.”
When a paramedic asked Elin if he was on any medication, she ran back into the house and returned with a bottle of Ambien, and one bottle of Vicodin. The paramedic put the bottles in a bag as to accompany Woods to the hospital. When the Florida Highway Patrol came on the scene, an officer also asked Elin if Tiger had been drinking. She said “He drank some earlier that night.” The officer notated it.
Police felt that they had sufficient evidence to subpoena Woodsʼ blood from the hospital. By doing so, this would allow them to build a stronger case and charge him with DUI. The Request for Investigative Subpoena stated: “The driver lost control of his vehicle, crashed and was transported to the hospital. A witness stated that the driver had consumed alcohol earlier in the day and the same witness removed the driver from the vehicle after the collision. Also, the same witness stated that the driver was prescribed medication (Ambien and Vicodin). Impairment of the driver is also suspected due to the careless driving that resulted in the traffic crash.”
Officers were stunned to learn that their request had been denied by the Assistant Attorney Steve Foster, head of the State Attorneyʼs Office Intake Division. His reply to the request was “insufficient information provided to lawfully issue subpoena.”
One Florida Highway Patrol officer involved in the case said, “I have gotten subpoenas issued with a lot less evidence than that. I don’t know why the subpoena wasn’t issued. I really don’t. All I know is that everything was done by the book, and I believe that subpoena should have been issued.”
Makes you wonder how someone of Woodsʼ stature can dodge a DUI bullet as big as this, and just get by with a $164 careless driving ticket, yet Heather Locklear is facing a possible DUI charge any day. All things equal, shouldnʼt Tiger be facing the same penalty as Locklear, or is his case another example of a “bigger” celebrity being above the law?
To some degree, James Brown was right when he sang, “This is a man’s world”. Men have always dominated coaching women’s sports, but slowly its time has come. There was a ground breaking decision in the world of high school football last week when 29 year old Natalie Randolph was named head varsity football coach of Washington D.C.’s Calvin Coolidge Senior High.
It is reported that Randolph is currently the only female coaching boys’ varsity high school football in the country. At her press conference on Friday she said, “Head coach is a big job for anybody. The fact that it’s making history, that’s also pretty cool, but I really wanna make sure that I give the best that I can for the kids.”
Randolph has been teaching biology at the school for the last two years, but that’s not her only impressive statistic. She’s had some experience on the field as a player and as a coach. Randolph was a sprinter at the University of Virginia. That led her to 5 seasons as a wide receiver for the women’s professional football team the D.C. Divas. There she helped lead them to the title in 2006.
She then had a 2-year coaching stint as an assistant varsity football coach at another Washington area high school. During that time, Randolph found herself under scrutiny with the coaching staff. She said, “After the first week, I had more apprehension about the other coaches than about the players, it was about proving myself to the other coaches.”
A man’s world indeed it may be, but Randolph was quite impressive by beating out 15 other candidates for the top spot. “Some people say she’s just a woman and she doesn’t know anything. There’s definitely going to be a higher level of scrutiny because it’s a woman in a man’s world,” said Toni Morgan, a referee for the Eastern Board of Officials and a regular official of football games in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association.
One rival high school football coach went on to say, “All I know is, I don’t want to be the first one to lose to her. That’s going to be wild.”
What in the world is going on in women’s sports today? It’s a given that when there’s a high level of competition, aggressiveness tends to rear its ugly head at times. But lately it seems as if women are becoming just as aggressive as their male counterparts. Sports in general are becoming more sensationalized with a “win at all cost” mentality. How far will the violence go?
Last year we saw the nasty nature of tennis player Serena Williams. In a semi final match of the US Open, she verbally abused a line judge for a foot fault that she felt was inappropriate. Williams later explained, “As a competitor and as someone who’s really passionate about their work, I got a little overexcited.” That outburst only cost her a fine and a slap on the wrist from the tennis federation who said that if it happens again, she “could” face a suspension.
In November of 2009, New Mexico college soccer player Elizabeth Lambert took her aggression to a new level. She was seen throughout the whole game making illegal tackles, and throwing elbows and punches to the back and face of various BYU players. But the defining moment came when she pulled her opponent’s ponytail whipping her neck around, and throwing her to the ground like a rag doll. She didn’t receive a penalty for that, but did receive a yellow card for tripping her opponent who was trying to score a goal. Where were the referees, and who was controlling this game? Lambert apologized for the incident saying, “This is in no way indicative of my character or the soccer player I am.”
Most recently, on March 3, 2010 we saw Baylor University basketball player Brittney Griner sucker punch her opponent from Texas Tech. Griner and her opponent were jockeying for position in the paint when the Texas Tech player took Griner and whipped her around, causing her to lose her balance. Griner retaliated with a knuckle sandwich, breaking the other player’s nose. The fisticuffs resulted in Griner’s ejection, and other consequences her coach may hand down. The Texas Tech player shot her free throws, left the game, but more importantly, could be out for the rest of the season.
As an athlete and soccer player myself, I have seen the various levels of both physical and verbal violence first hand. I know of what I speak. But wasn’t it bad enough when Tanya Harding took a hit out on Nancy Kerrigan? How far is it going to go? Will it eventually lead to someone getting a chunk of their ear bit off like poor Evander Holyfield? Aggression will always be a part of sport, but is it ok to passively sit on the sidelines waiting for a change? What would you stand for?