I hesitate to link to THIS PIECE OF EXCREMENT posted to ESPN Soccernet by someone named Andrew Hush.
After a reasonably accurate description of the events of the past week, he proceeds on:
The events of the past few days have raised a number of questions. The most obvious one concerns security around the Cuban team. Of course, 24-hour surveillance is (not) possible....but their escape seems to have been accomplished with minimum effort. The team bus was given a police escort to and from the stadium for the match against the USA, but it is believed that little extra security was in place at the hotel.
Furthermore, the decision to place Cuba in Florida for its qualifying group matches is also, in hindsight, questionable. ...these are a young group of men that may have had second thoughts about the choice they made had they been in a less familiar environment.
I'm not going to try to characterize Hush as actually complaining that the US did not provide more police and military presence to assure that these guys couldn't "escape" from the hotel, although clearly that's what he's doing.
(I will, however, point out that when a member of a German or Japanese team walks out to the street after dinner we don't call it "escaping" and we don't assign policemen to drag them back in.)
Nor am I going to spend much time pointing out that he seems to feel that in the future we should schedule Cuban soccer teams to play in Milwaukee or Boise so they won't feel so comfortable about going over the moat, thereby ruining a perfectly good tournament.
I'm simply going to suggest to Mr. Hush that there are more important things in life than the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament, and that one of those things is personal freedom, something that a surprising number of people in this country still consider important.
Whatever else Hush may think of the US, it would be beyond appalling for us to set up a security cordon around a visiting sports team, or to purposely avoid holding a tournament in a state where one or more of the teams are among fellow countrymen.
We wouldn't put up barbed wire and guard towers around a Swedish team, nor would we refuse to hold games against Norway in Minnesota for fear that Olga and Olaf might try and move in with Uncle Sven.
This is no different. It would be nothing shot of outrageous for us to treat a Cuban team any differently than we would treat the Dutch or the Australians, and Hush is simply, flat-out wrong to suggest otherwise.
Hush, seemingly trying really, really hard to make himself sound like a clueless idiot, says that "of course they're free men" and then refers to how we didn't do enough to prevent their "escape"
And he does it in the same sentence
Note to Mr. Hush: "Free men" do not "escape". Slaves escape. Prisoners escape. Free men are, by definition, free.
I feel nothing but sympathy and endless admiration for the way the Cuban team pulled together under impossible circumstances and came within 22 minutes of performing the impossible.
More to the point, if Hush is interested in seeing the best that sports has to offer, the Cubans gave it to us against Honduras. I'm sorry that Hush would have been happier if we had INS agents with submachine guns outside their team hotel, but for me, what we ended up seeing was as much a lesson in what sports is all about as anything else we could have wished for.