Friday, July 20, 2007

Oh Please

I watched some of the match between Argentina and Chile yesterday, primarily because South American teams play a fluid, wide-open, beautiful brand of football. While there were some notable moments, the game itself was a disgraceful display of dirty checking, play acting and bad tempers. The Chilean players were incensed at the officials calls, and were noticeably enraged at the end of the game. It wasn't pretty.

You have a bunch of 19 and 20 year old irate soccer players, hurling invective and refusing to listen to authorities. The police react, in a firm way, and that translates into "racism" and complaints from the Chilean government. By all accounts, a nation is outraged at Canada, which conveniently absolves the players of any responsibility. On the other hand, Canadian officials seem somewhat defensive, which I think an unfair posture. I watched that game, and the energy was akin to a ticking timebomb. Guess what, it went off. Shocking.


northwestern_lad said...

Something interesting to add on to this... I watched Canada's Mens National team play the Chilean National team back in June on TV as they were playing in the Gold Cup. The commentators made the comment during that game, that Canada won, that the Chileans are notoriously knowing for being bad loosers, and the Canadian players needed to be careful that they wern't baited into getting kicked out themselves.

So when I saw that game last night with their U-20 team, I couldn't say I was shocked because I saw the same garbage on the field with their Men's team a month ago. Maybe they need a sportsmanship coach.

Karen said...

There are a slew of reports northwestern_lad, that would support your story and the general dispostion of the Chileans.

It's a place I've never been to.

Hmmm, I think I've travelled quite a bit, but never to South America and I'm not sure why.

Steve V said...

It is interesting to watch the coverage, where we see this blind nationalism from all Chilean quarters. On the other hand, Harper used this beneign diplomatic rhetoric today when asked, and all the other reactions seem equally timid. I suppose that might be the Canadian way, but when we are being trashed, on a matter where fault is in the eye of the beholder, I would like to see a firmer response.

Knb, as I mentioned on your post, I'm all for a good, warranted police brutality bashfest, but the leadup, the circumstances, all point to provocation, essentially a mini-riot. I'm somewhat disappointed to see us accept a defensive posture. I can't wait for MacKay's tippy toe response.

Anonymous said...

What makes me think that the Canadian response of tasers, and pepper spray would have been live rounds in Chile?

I think they should round up the entire team and tell them to leave as threats to public peace. The whiney little bastards "injuries" are probably no more real than the dives they take on the field.

AS we get more involved in foodball It's important that we let both players and fans know we are not going to let the crap that happens in Europe and S.A. happen here. Lawlessness, holiganism, violence is not acceptable in any sport(boxing and ultimate fight chalenge excluded)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Green Assasin,

I lived in Brazil for a year when I was 17, during that year I saw a player killed by a crazed fan, fans trampled to death in a stadium and some wild stuff like that. I like PM Harper's response - its very calm and civilized - very Canadian.

Soccer seems to heat people up and those Officers did a good job cooling things down. Boo - hoo a little pepper spray and some taser - just because you kick a little ball around dosn't mean you get to act like however you please in someone else's country.

A Eliz. said...

England has terrible time with fights in those games, Whatever happened to Pele,... was he a dirty plsyer?

A Eliz. said...

can't spell..late night!

Anonymous said...

Chilean players were actually touching the referees, an absolute no-no. Talk was, the Chilean players were also accusing the refs of racism, because some of the refs were from Northern Europe (yes, the old "Aryan" thing). Little did it dawn on the Chileans, though, that, if the refs unfairly acted against Chile, then by definition it meant they acted for Argentina ... who have the same skin colour as Chileans! Idiots.

Frankly a lot of us are sick and tired of those in sport who "play the race card". The slightest bit of injustice where it looks like someone of a slightly lighter coloured skin has committed the tiniest slight against someone of a slightly darker coloured skin, and the media jump on it as racism. Not to mention that those slighted-against will milk the racism charge for all its worth.

What next, do we get out our old camera light meters and measure our skin colour to determine if indeed it is racism? Or -- Heaven forbid -- the meters show it's not racism, and that means that individuals actually have to take responsibility for their actions?

Commentator: "Well, the ref's skin tone measures 3.62 on the skin colour meter while the striker's skin colour is 4.13, so -- yep -- it's a racist yellow card, not a normal yellow card ..."

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people? Why is it so difficult to wrap your minds around the fact that the referee incident and the incident with the police are TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES?!!?!?! Listen to yourselves and re-read your comments, YOU sound racist. The "general disposition of the Chileans"? What is that supposed to mean? Have you ever played a team sport? If you have, you would know what it means to lose at that level. I am NOT defending Chile's actions on the field, they should NEVER have touched the ref even though he deserved a good a@@-whooping. The whole problem is what happened when the team was boarding the bus. Let me enlighten you because I do not think that you are aware. Tear gas was thrown into the bus, THAT'S WHY THEY BROKE THE WINDOWS. Also, if the players really had assaulted the police why were none of them charged? I mean they were ALL detained so why weren't ANY charges laid? I've never assaulted an officer but I'm sure that I get thrown in jail if I did.'ve never been to South America and that's a good thing. Maybe you should restrict yourself to travelling within Canada and other Caucasian countries. I too have travelled extensively and don't have the narrow mind that you seem to have.

I am proud to consider myself more Canadian than Chilean after having lived in Canadian for the majority of my life. I am now living in the U.S. and really miss Canada. I always talk about how great Canada is and how tolerant the people are. However, an incident such like this and this type of response from "Canadians" really makes me wonder if it's all just an act.

Steve V said...


It wasn't just the referee. It was that, then an incident with spectators, then hurling invective at the police. The police responded, then didn't initiate, which is something you conveniently omit.

Spare me the racism crap, it is a disgraceful excuse to mask responsiblity.

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the reason the Chilean players were "angry" with Toronto Police is because the police physically prevented them from visiting with the fans that had been waiting for them. When the Chilean players tried to push through the police line, that's when it became violent. I think the on-pitch antics of the Chilean players and some fans, after the whistle, created a heightened sense of tension in the police and security, who may have overreacted a bit in their zeal to prevent a "soccer riot", thus denying the players access to their fans. Once the fists started flying, subduing the participants quickly was appropriate, but I don't think those fists would have been used, had the players been given the opportunity to talk to their fans (through the security fence).

Oh and BTW, I watched the match as well and the officials encouraged all the simulation on both sides, by handing out free kicks and cards like candy. If tactical advantage can be gained by simulating, then players will simulate. The officials are responsible for controling/changing the flow and tone of match and, in that match, the officials lost control completely.

Steve V said...


Point taken, although I think you take the "Chilean fans" out of context. Important to keep the sequence of events in mind, in trying to understand police actions. First we have the incidents on the field, then the Chilean players have a potential altercation with rival fans, wherein security kept them seperated. Now, if you are the police, what is your thinking? I'm inclined to believe it is acceptable to think- let's get these hothead players, in a volatile situation, out of there. The Chilean fans were also irate, so I can understand why the police didn't want anymore "emotion", which is why they refused to allow the players and fans to join. At this stage, the players began hurling invective at the police, refused to listen to instructions, and the then the melee insued.

If you just isolate the "want to see their fans" aspect, then it looks bad, but if you take the whole incident together, then the police reaction looks far less beniegn in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I´m Chilean, I dont live in Canada and I came to this blog by coincidence. I still give my point of view about this incident.

Firstly I did not like the bahaviour in the field in the game and directly after the game by the players. I can understand their frustration but not any insults to the ref or fans. BUT I still do not undestand the use of pepper sprays and tasers on unarmed soccerplayers outside and inside the bus, and acording to Chilean news it was a brutal handlig of the players by the police quoting Chilean newsmen in place.

Please read the following written in a Canadian newspaper on the use of pepper spray:

"Police and pepper spray have become a volatile mix in Canada ever since the RCMP used the weapon on a group of university students in 1997, at a gathering of international leaders in Vancouver.

That incident burned itself into public memory because the use of pepper spray seemed excessive. It also sparked 52 complaints against the RCMP and a lengthy inquiry.

Video footage of the confrontation shows an officer telling students to move, then showering them madly with pepper spray just moments later. The scene is chaotic. There is much pushing and shoving between police and protesters. One student covers his eyes in pain. Another is shown spitting it out. The spray is eventually shot at the camera, covering the lens.

Afterwards, then prime minister Jean Chr├ętien joked about the incident, saying: "For me, pepper, I put it on my plate."

But for many, the matter was no joke. The inquiry by the RCMP Public Complaints Commission concluded that the use of pepper spray by at least one officer, Staff Sgt. Hugh Stewart, was unnecessary and could not be justified. Stewart was given the nickname Sgt. Pepper.

However, while the inquiry assessed RCMP conduct in policing the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit, it never recommended that the force review its policy on the use of pepper spray when dealing with dissent. Now, 10 years later, questions persist about the substance, particularly in light of the most recent incident earlier this month involving a group of native people celebrating a kids' soccer game at Sechelt, B.C.

This time, it was a home video of the incident that sparked outrage and forced the RCMP to apologize."

Regards and forgive me for beeing a noicy Chilean. // R

Steve V said...


Thanks for the perspective. Just curious, what do they use in Chile to subdue unruly people?