Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Victim Card

I'm not sure why this Chilean soccer story irks me so, but I find the rhetoric and reactions completely outrageous. A dirty game, which saw 30 Chilean fouls and two players expelled. Said players attempt to attack a referee after the game, then proceed to get into it with spectators, then start hurling invective at security, which ends up in a brawl. Somehow this sequence of events is all Canada's fault, which conveniently omits the entire leadup to the "incident". Pretty rare that I agree with a Sun media columnist, but I think this particular one gets it right.

This type of rhetoric is simply outlandish crap:
"For many people, even for me, it was a kind of flashback to what happened to us," said Patricio Bascunan, president of the Casa Salvador Allende Cultural Society of Toronto.

He was referring to the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron first from 1973 to 1990. Many of Toronto's 10,000-plus Chileans, Bascunan said, came to Canada as exiles during Pinochet's regime.

"There are so many people here for political reasons. And we remember the repression of the police and the army," he said.

"The disappointment of the people is unbelievable. People say, `That reminds me what happened to me with the police in Chile. And I never thought it would happen here.'"

Yes, Pinochet returns, on the streets of Toronto. Good grief.

Apparently, several Chilean players will be unable to participate in the match Sunday, due to injuries sustained during the brawl. If I can make my own diagnosis, "strained" political relations seems to be the common injury:
Chile's consul general, Ricardo Plaza, says several of the Chilean soccer players who were injured in Thursday night's post-match brawl with Toronto police, will not be able to play in Sunday's bronze medal soccer match against Austria because of injuries sustained in the clash.

Plaza said he did not know how many players were severely injured.

Severly injured? On Friday, the Chilean soccer official said all players could play on Sunday. I wonder why there no is evidence of any medical attention required, in the aftermath of the Pinochet-like brutality? I actually saw two Chilean players showing their injuries(during the game?) to the cameras- one had a horrific, slightly inflamed lip, the other a bruise the size of a loonie, akin to one my four year olds incurs daily. Apparently, loved ones are being rushed to the player's bed sides. God's speed.

What is happening here, the Chileans have decided that not fielding a full side on Sunday will solidify the perception that they are victims. After watching the dreadful display of football, is it really surprising that we see reaction that is less than honorable?

What we have here is a bunch of punkish, prima donna players, notorious sore losers, that don't seem willing to accept any responsiblity for their voluntary actions. The only "victim" here, that I can find, is Canada's reputation.


northwestern_lad said...

You nailed it Steve.... Chilean National Soccer teams have a reputation for being poor sports and for being violent. I was watch on tv the Canadian Men's National team play the Chileans in the Gold Cup back in June. When the Canadians got up big, the announcers said then that the Canadians needed to be careful because the Chileans were known for not loosing gracefully and were known for taking dirty shots when loosing. And that started to happen there.

One thing that is obvious to me here is that the Chileans think that this kind of poor sportsmanship is okay and can just be muffed off as "boys being boys". In Canada, we have different standards, which don't allow this kind of stuff.

Steve V said...

Apparently, there is a planned demonstration today, outside of the stadium, to protest the brutality.

burlivespipe said...

The Chilean team supporters, including the ambassador, keep saying 'they are only kids'... Kids that have been trained through a long life of soccer to carry machismo to a soap opera-like level. Every bump becomes a 'thump' and each foul a 'beating', unless of course it is handed out by the Chilean team, then it is part of the game. Not that Chile is the only practioners but that they have now let this esculate and now are demanding victim status, well, its a bit rich. Pinochet would have had this team erased off the face of the earth. I think, under the circumstances and prior to any investigation, that the OPP did a decent job.

Jay said...

Maybe if the chilean team explain their same behavior last year and the year before that then maybe we would have some true insight into the cause of this supposed "brawl".

Its a little hard to swallow that the police were excessive with this teams past behaviors. Seems more like they intervened in time.

Tomm said...


here, here!

I keep telling my kids that live "isn't" fair so don't make yourself into a victim.


Karen said...

I keep telling my kids that live "isn't" fair

As opposed to pre-taped?, or worse yet, dead? ;) Just teasing.

I cannot figure out why there isn't more comment coming from officials stating some of the facts mentioned in these comments.

I'm not a soccer fan, but even I've read about the chilean reputation for this kind of stuff.

Toronto has enough problems at the moment. The last thing we need is this. Soccer was becoming an incredibly popular sport, with tremendous support...which was good for the city. We don't need it de-railed and worse yet, we don't need the publicity of this affair to incite a bunch of goons next time around.

Anonymous said...

>>>Pinochet would have had this team erased off the face of the earth.

Except that Pinochet was a populist and Chile's popular soccer team, Colo-Colo, is eternally indebted to him for building them a stadium. Some of them took their hat of to the General when he departed from this earth. (Fucking Nazis).

Great post Steve! Now the world - or at least Canada - has got a taste of typical Chilean hypocrisy. I myself am a political ranter, and I'm constantly amazed at the artless hypocrisy that the Chileans get away with here in their own country.

That the president herself would weigh in - before a formal investigation is conducted - to spark up populism against Canada - just days after signing a free trade agreement which will probably facilitate the whoring out of Pascua Lama Gold to Canada - and to see that so many proud, self-righteous Chileans are hoodwinked by her cynicism. That said, it's good to see criticism in the Chilean blogosphere, but the papers and TV are happy to fire up Chilean nationalism and melodrama.
Canada, this is your opportunity to give the Orwellian Chilean government the international bitch-slapping it needs.


Anonymous said...

C'mon, they got the shaft in the game with Argentina - that's why they were after the referee.

Steve V said...


Thanks for the perspective.

Canadian Tar Heel said...

The accusations against the Toronto PD and Canada, in general, are completely disingenuous and cynical. The pushing, fighting and all around poor sportsmanship after the game is an unfortunate trend that exists with some South American soccer teams (although other continents have poor losers too). It appears that, in this tournament, Chile is accompanied by Uruguay, which tried to start a fight after they lost to the US. Off the Post, a blog dedicated to the U-20 World Cup in Canada, offers links to YouTube videos of other similar incidents outside of Canada.

Sadly, the more Canada and the police plead their case, the worse it gets. Someone please tell them to shut up, lest they unwittingly give credence to these claims.

Anthony said...

Im not saying it was racially motivated

but the police screwed up

They are there to protect the players, not taser them...

Steve V said...

"They are there to protect the players, not taser them..."

Actually, they're there to protect the peace.

Red Canuck said...

Steve - You're bang on. I'm not sure why Antonio has his panties in such a knot about the Toronto police force. Their job is not to protect riotous Chilean soccer brats. If anyone should be apologizing, it's the Chilean soccer team.