|Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)||Colombian defender Andrés Escobar|
I've been trying to figure out exactly what to make of the case of Anthony Weiner. At first, I dismissed Andrew Breitbart's charges that the New York City congressman had sent pictures of his crotch to complete strangers. I figured that it was another sleazy Breitbart mind trick. Rep. Weiner first claimed that someone hacked his Twitter account and sent the offending picture. Since I don't use Twitter enough to know much about it, that claim seemed reasonable. When Weiner later refused to deny that the picture was of his crotch, well, I stopped believing him.
What we have, then, is a congressman who sent a picture of his own genitals to women who may or may not have wanted to see it and lied about it. In the process, Rep. Weiner didn't prance like a chihuahua puppy into Nancy Pelosi's doghouse. He didn't just jepoardize own career and possibly his marriage. He has probably deprived the progressive movement of a voice -- his -- that it could really use in the House of Representatives.
And of what other spectacle did this sorry episode remind me today? An own goal in soccer. Check that: a specific own goal, scored almost 17 years ago.
SB Nation's World Cup Blog has an excellent overview of the tragedy of Andrés Escobar, but here's a short version. Colombia came to the U.S. as a dark-horse favorite to win the 1994 World Cup, only to open with a shocking 3-1 loss to Romania. Needing to defeat the host Americans to keep their hopes alive, Colombia instead allowed an overwhelming U.S. counterattack at minute 35. Escobar, an emerging superstar as a defender, tried to deflect John Harkes's pass out of danger -- only to do this instead:
The ensuing 2-1 loss to the Americans eliminated Colombia, and Escobar got the blame. [Not fair! The U.S. would have found some other way to win that day.] Ten days later, some angry Colombian shot him dead outside Medellín.
Colombian football has yet to recover.
The more I think about, the more eerie the parallel appears. Like Andrés Escobar, Anthony Weiner was a rising star in his field. Like Escobar's mistake in Pasadena, Weiner's miscues may end in severe damage to his cause. I just hope some crazy person doesn't decide to make the comparison complete.
It will be bad enough for the progressive movement if Anthony Weiner's career (or his marriage) is all that dies.