Here we are again, boys and girls. We’re stranded in the middle of the week, with no weekend in sight in either direction. But no matter what kind of week you’re having, remember that it could be worse. You could be waking up to career-ruining headlines about urinating on yourself and simulating a sex act with a dog, for example. And on that note, let’s dive into the dumpster.
Daniele De Rossi and the art of the non-apology
Athletes often put their respective feet in their mouths. On any given week, you can find a news story about someone who basically goes to gym class every day for a living apologizing for saying or doing something stupid. The reason athletes tend to be media-trained, to offer only the blandest and least insightful commentary, is to avoid saying something they might actually mean and then having to swiftly backtrack.
Roma vice-captain Daniele De Rossi is the latest soccer star to have to say sorry after he was caught on camera calling Juventus striker Mario Mandžukić a “gypsy shit” during the two clubs’ Serie A match on Sunday. The only problem is that De Rossi didn’t actually apologize. Instead, he did that tried and tested roundabout non-apology that public figures have mastered. The Famous Person Non-Apology™ may contain the word “sorry” (for the benefit of headline writers, no doubt), but does not actually admit wrongdoing, or address the target of the abuse directly. Luis Suárez, after being handed an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, apologized for all sorts of things, without ever apologizing to Evra himself. De Rossi followed a similar protocol by saying “sorry to whoever felt offended by what I said.” He even joked that he should have covered up his mouth. Because if it’s one thing that will making using a racial slur okay, it’s having it be muffled behind your fingers.
The Portuguese Second Division now belongs to a Chinese light company
Money in soccer has finally jumped the shark. We came fairly close to peak absurdity when Manchester United players and staff were promoting The Revenant on social media recently, but the Portuguese Segunda Liga has gone one better. Ledman, a Chinese light manufacturer, has signed on to become the “exclusive title sponsor” of the Portuguese second division. In fact, starting next season, the Segunda Liga will be renamed as the Ledman Proliga. Naming rights to competitions is nothing new, as the ridiculously named FA Cup with Budweiser aptly demonstrates. What is new, is the other — possibly illegal — requirement that 10 Chinese players be included in the starting lineups of the top 10 clubs in the league.
Perhaps wary of the legal nightmare involved in such a demand, Ledman has slightly scaled back its request. Still, the Portuguese Liga has indicated that clubs may receive money for playing with Chinese players — which means that several clubs in the
Segunda Liga Ledman Proliga will definitely field Chinese players next season, whether those players merit inclusion or not. Remember when professional soccer had a soul? Me neither.
What is it with soccer players and taxes these days?
Another day, another soccer tax scandal. Fifty-eight soccer officials, players, and agents in Italy are the subject of a probe into systematic tax evasion. The individuals involved are yet to be named, but the investigation reportedly involves the heads of Napoli, Milan, and Lazio. Investigators allege that officials and players doctored documents in order to defraud the Italian government of taxes, and up to 35 clubs may be involved. Best of all, the operation has been nicknamed “Offside.” Because taxes, just like the offside rule, are confusing and often misunderstood. But that isn’t true in either case is it? Just contribute your fair share to society like the rest of us, you greedy bastards.
Does Chelsea know what year it is?
Chelsea already has the artist formerly known as Falcao on the books, and it has now added 2008’s Next Big Thing, Alexandre Pato. Reportedly, the backup option, had Chelsea not managed to fight off competition for Pato from, erm, no one actually, was Robin van Persie. With nothing left to play for this season, Roman Abramovich has apparently decided to turn his team’s entire strikeforce into an elaborate #ThrowbackThursday Instagram post.