Protests, Boycotts and Water on the Brain

As Winston Churchill famously remarked, after being scolded for ending his sentences with prepositions:

"This is an outrage up with which I shall not put"

No, I'm not referring to the pathetic excuse for coaching currently on display at US National Team games in South Africa. I'll leave that for others better qualified to explain, among other things, just what the hell he sees in DeMarcus Beasley.

BEASLEY IS A GUY WITH A LOT ON THE LINE, but as it stands he can forget trying to save his job at Rangers or trying to latch on to another side overseas. The guy would be lucky to get an offer from MLS for more than a bucket of spit.

I'll only say that the primary function of someone in his position, the one absolutely crucial job, is to put the best possible players on the field. And if DMB is the best possible player then, friends, we should just email Sepp Blatter now and say "Thanks for the tournament, but we've decided to drop out".

Rather, I'm referring to another referee, making it two in a row, who seemed to feel that the US had no business on the same pitch as their more celebrated and decorated opponent and who made it his job to make sure we were as roundly humiliated as possible.

Look, it says here that it's no disgrace to admit that Brazil has a beter side than we do. In fact, despite the incoherant and increasingly reality-free ramblings of J.P. Dellacamera ("If he's the best announcer that we..." oh, never mind), it's safe to say that their bench would also give us a sound licking nine times out of ten.

We're simply not of that caliber and everyone knows it, and even if we suddenly had someone running the team who picks players based on their ability to play the game as opposed to their "veteran reliability" we STILL aren't within shouting distance of those guys.

That being said, they really don't need a referee to help them along. They can get the job done just fine without some clown with a whistle handing them direct free kicks from 35 yards and handing us red cards for certainly aggressive but my no means violent challenges.

Coincidentally, I've been out sailing the last couple of days and as often happens when you're out there on the water with nothing but - well, water pretty much sums it up - I've had a chance to reflect on the errors of my ways.

And I've decided that my freinds in Trawna, Ontario have it right: as one of them recently said in response to one of my blog posts "Archer just doesn't understand that if you don't complain about the referees nothing will happen".

And you know what? I've decided that he's right.

Perhaps even more to the point, while the referees in MLS do not work for Don Garber (something which, coincidentally, the Canadians "do not understand") and thus complaining to him is largely pointless, the officials at the Confederations Cup do indeed work directly for Sepp Blatter.

Therefore, every Thursday for the next month I encourage you to join me in Twittering Mr. Blatter ( @ bigthief) and let him know that we DEMAND more accountability from FIFA tournament referees. We simply won't stand for any more of this. No we won't. If he thinks we're kidding, well, just wait until, it'll be something bad, believe you me.

While I was unavailable due to being soaking wet, everybody else got to take a whack at this Rossi character who, best as I can tell, had offers from two teams and decided to take the one from the team that was good as opposed to the team that was not.

This seems to have been a topic which provoked a good deal of moral outrage and I'm sorry I didn't have the chance to get in on it. Moral outrage is a specialty of mine.

As partial recompense, as I feel is my right as an American who would never, ever go off and join the Italian national team no matter how much money, excellent food and incredibly hot women came with the offer, I am hereby passing along a Steven "Stepped in the Crap" Cohen update, courtesy of a news release from the New York Liverpool Supporters:

Ruffneck Scarves, a longtime staunch supporter of Cohen's, has given up trying to help the guy out of his problems after our boy Stevie, either too arrogant or too stupid to recognize that he needs to hang on to whatever freinds he still has, have given up and pulled their support from Cohen's show.

Herewith, in it's entireity, is the statement from the good people of LFCNY:

LFCNY Press Release

Ruffneck Scarves pulls all sponsorship from Steven Cohen and WSD.

New York, Thursday, 18th June, 2009 - The LFCNY is pleased to announce
that another major advertiser has pulled its advertising from Steven
Cohen’s show World Soccer Daily. Ruffneck Scarves a mainstay of WSD and
Fox Football Fone In has ended its sponsorship with immediate effect.

Jeff McIntyre of Ruffneck Scarves spoke of shoddy dealings by Steven Cohen
throughout the LFCNY boycott campaign. Jeff says, that amongst other
things, “Steven Cohen made calls into one of our strategic partners to try
to sabotage our deal, because we voiced our displeasure with what had
transpired as a result of his negative comments regarding Hillsborough.”
And this was before Ruffneck Scarves had made any decision to join the
LFCNY boycott.

Conor Brennan, VP of LFCNY and the Co-ordinator of the LFCNY campaign
against Steven Cohen, said that he had been in discussions with Jeff
McIntyre for quite some time. “Early on, we recognized that Ruffneck
Scarves was genuinely trying to do the right thing, trying to protect its
business and employees and honor its advertising contracts, while being
horrified and outraged by Steven Cohen’s hateful lies and and smears
against the 96, Hillsborough and Liverpool fans worldwide.” The LFCNY
removed Ruffneck Scarves from the boycott list while discussions were

But Steven Cohen’s lies and blatant disregard for a cornerstone sponsor
continued. Ruffneck invested in hundreds of custom World Soccer Daily
scarves as part of a promotional giveaway to be executed at Fado pubs
during Champions League viewings with World Soccer Daily. When Fado pubs
pulled its sponsorship from WSD, Cohen’s answer to Ruffneck about
alternatives for promotion and return of merchandise was essentially,
“tough!” Again, Ruffneck Scarves were not part of the LFCNY boycott at
this time.

Every time Steven Cohen discussed Hillsborough and repeated his lies,
Ruffneck Scarves was deluged by emails of outrage and not only from
Liverpool fans. Basically, Ruffneck’s continued collaboration with Steven
Cohen became toxic to its survival.

Several other companies have discovered that allowing its name to be
associated with a merchant of hate such as Steven Cohen has also proved
toxic to them. Steven Cohen lies and everyone gets hurt - Liverpool fans,
the families of the 96 dead, his sponsors. Jeff McIntyre puts the
Hillsborough tragedy into some perspective when he says, “the Hillsborough
tragedy was just that, a tragedy, and should not be used in a public forum
to "blame. Were the residents of Indonesia asked to ‘share the blame’ for
the tsunami?”

Conor Brennan says that the boycott will continue and that any new
sponsors who decide that they want to give their money to Steven Cohen to
allow him to continue with his lies and hate will be contacted, letting
them know how their money is being spent and what is being said in their
name. “Just because we have been quiet publicly recently does not mean
that the campaign has gone away. We have been in very serious discussions
with other sponsors and the next week will see more of them joining the
boycott against the lies and hate of Steven Cohen”, says Brennan,
“Ruffneck Scarves was an example of how we are conducting this campaign -
with respect and understanding for the sponsors, while being very firm in
our position, continuing our discussions until we achieved our objective.”

Conor Brennan,