11 July 2010

Can we deport Ian Darke already?

Presented for your approval: Luis Suárez, Uruguayan striker and, as of this World Cup, The Most Despised Man in Africa.  Commentators have rightly noted that, unseemly as it was, the hand ball against Ghana was perfectly legal.  No right-thinking field player in Suárez's impossible position (not even in Africa) would have hesitated to at least attempt what he did.  As it was, the red card he earned, also rightly, will go down as one of the greatest personal sacrifices in soccer history.

At the same time, though, I saw was nothing wrong with African fans constantly showering him with boos, as they did in Satuday's third-place match against Germany.  It wasn't as though in the first round, prior to That Hand Ball, a despicable Suárez dive hadn't tricked the referee into ejecting South Africa keeper Itumelng Khune.  Hell, that flop would have embarrassed Vlade Divac.

Which brings me to Ian Darke, who covered, among others, the USA World Cup matches for American TV.  I found him tolerable to watch until he went off on the South African fans for booing Súarez.  "Disgreaceful"?  "A lack of understanding of the game"?  He meant to insult Africans with teabagger-worthy phrases like those, but all Darke really did was describe himself.  Perhaps he should get out of England more.  In the rest of the world, singling specific players out for jeering is a time-honored tradition.  It's reserved for players who've committed egregious offenses against the home team.  (That means you, Chris Pronger, bane of all right-thinking NHL fans.)  Whatever else he did, Luis Suárez surely fit that profile.  The other fact Darke missed with his proto-colonialist missives was the fact that no human can simultaneously (a) boo Suárez and (b) blow on a damned vuvuzela.  That, of course, was a favor for everyone but Darke.

ESPN dramatically improved its World Cup coverage, finally giving the event the respect it deserves.  Heck, apart from Darke, it even made it safe to watch English-language soccer telecasts in North America.  But while they're washing off all the Gulf Coast oil from the punking they took from LeBron (the Impostor) James this week, perhaps ESPN executives can take a little time to hand Ian Darke a red card.

Obligatory comment on the games:  There wasn't a lot to say about the semifinals. The Netherlands' win over Uruguay was no surprise, nor Spain's victory over a German squad that definitely missed Thomas Müller.  The real surprise was that, though shut down on Wednesday night, it was der Mannschaft, not the Brazilians, who played the prettiest football of the tournament.  (Sure, England and Argentina helped, but still... .)

Regarding tomorrow's final:  as the U.S. team constantly allowed fatal early goals, the Netherlands have allowed silly goals late.  Spain will see to it that that will undo the Dutch, probably in the 84th minute or so.


Matty Boy said...

Okay! You are on Spain, I'm on the Dutch. Let's see who gets it right.

By the way, I've been watching most of the games in Spanish, so I haven't heard that much of Ian Darke.

Abu Scooter said...

Well, it took an extra 26 minutes, but Iniesta finally put one in the net for Spain. Fear the octopus!