Otto Fischer, a 102-year-old World War II veteran and Spartak Moscow fan, was recently robbed of his life savings. As the story goes, someone posing as a social worker was able to grift him out of everything he had.
News of Fischer’s plight reached Spartak players, and they got together to donate to his cause. The team’s official fan club also took up a collection among supporters. Fischer was invited for a tour of the stadium and was a guest of honor as Spartak took on rival Dynamo Moscow.
This is a great story, and a more sensible person would have ended this blog already, saying, “See, soccer is more than corruption and hooliganism. Soccer has heart!” But this is Russian soccer, and Spartak Moscow specifically — home to one of the biggest shit-pile fan bases on the planet. I decline the option to let these Nazi flag-flying, monkey-chanting, abuse-hurling monsters get a few days of good press for cutting one old man a check.
It’s lucky for Otto Fischer that he’s a native-born white man. Otherwise, instead of having his life savings restored, these same fans that are handing him money would instead offer him slurs and death treats. The players who walked him through the stadium would have turned their backs on him. And Spartak officials would have said something about a small number of fans not reflecting the true heart of the club.
So no, Spartak, you don’t get to play good guys for the day. Your fans are still unfathomably intolerant and everyone around them is an enabler. One cute story changes nothing.