So Tim Howard is upset about CONCACAF conducting THE POST GAME CEREMONY entirely in Spanish.
Fair enough complaint, and one which is indeed difficult to explain.
I suppose you can say it was because Mexico won, but I find it impossible to believe that they had a completely different program ready to go in case the US prevailed. This means that had the Yanks shown up with some guys who could defend a little once in a while we would have been witness to an American team, playing on American soil, walking through an awards ceremony conducted in a foreign language.
In any case, CONCACAF does not consist predominantly of Spanish-speaking nations. Offhand I'd say that Anglophone federations might have a slight plurality and that leaves aside the fact that a goodly number of the Caribbean members speak either French or Dutch.
Just to be entirely fair and neutral, I would have gone with one of those out of respect for our CFU brothers.
(Of course FIFA itself recognizes - and works hard at giving equal status to - four languages. Then again, since we're RELIABLY INFORMED that CONCACAF isn't actually part of FIFA, I suppose it's largely irrelevant.)
I'm not wildly offended by it, but I do get Timmy's' point: if this match had been held South of the border there isn't a snowballs' chance in hell that the ceremony would have been conducted in English, even if the contestants had been the US and Canada.
We'll just add it to the list of things I'd like to hear CONCACAF explain.
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire
Here's a quick quiz:
Why is it that most of the US Men's Soccer Team, unlike any other team I can think of, refuses to sing their national anthem?
a) They don't know the words
b) Cool guys don't sing
c) The Star Spangled Banner is a warlike colonialist neo-Nazi construct and anyone who sings it is a fascist.
d) They're scared of pissing off the Mexicans
To be fair, both Michael Bradley and Tim Howard always give it a shot, and Jermaine Jones, who spent most of his life overseas, mans up as well.
On the other hand, Clint Dempsey clamps his eyes tightly shut and grimaces like he's about to get a a prostate exam, Landon Donovan stares blankly ahead and Alejandro Bedoya stands there looking around the stadium like he's trying to find a hot dog vendor.
And then there's Jozy Altidore, who can't even be bothered putting his hand over his heart, although I'm willing to bet that he's not too embarrassed to cash those big checks which have "United States Soccer Federation" printed across the top.
Again, it's not a big deal either way. I'm not condemning anyone. I'm just wondering.
In For a Dime, In For A Dollar
And that of course leaves aside the thousands of attendees who are of Mexican extraction who hiss, boo and whistle from "Oh say can you see..." right on through "...and the home of the brave".
If you've reached physical maturity and are still unable to behave with a little class once in a while and give others the respect that they give to you, well, there's not much I can do to help you. You're just a jerk.
And While We're On The Subject
Can someone explain to me why IT'S ALWAYS LIKE THIS?
I'm not going to waste my time and yours going through a long apologetic littany of "A few bad apples..." and "a handful make the vast majority look bad" and "most Mexican fans are just there to have a good time" insincere crapola.
It's not a small handful of guys. It's not a few bad apples. Please don't launch a bottle of beer at my head and tell me it's raining.
Let's just agree that it's certainly NOT everybody and it's also one hell of a long ways from a "handful of guys".
It does appear that CONCACAF did a minimal-to-nonexistent job of planning, controlling and dealing with crowd dynamics, and in a series where there's a long and rich history of ugliness that's utterly inexcusable.
Chuck Blazer can crow to the media about what a WHOPPING BIG SUCCESS this tournament is becoming and in truth it's really exciting to see it gradually catching on and gaining importance and recognition not just among soccer fans but even - incredibly - among the general sporting public.
But if we're going to try and hide behind the fact that the ACTUAL ARREST NUMBERS are more or less similar to those that follow a typical UCLA game and thus there's nothing to see here, we're whistling past the graveyard.
The Pasadena police don't keep statistics on beer drenchings, bottle launchings, in-your-face obscenity-screamings and rude, classless, infantile, alcohol-fueled intimidation of people who just were stupid enough to think that they could buy tickets for themselves and their kids and not be afraid for their physical safety.
Unlike CONCACAF and the USSF I'm not going to pretend that it's going to stop. The kind of cowardly, miscreant slobs who can't hold their booze and who enjoy frightening women and children aren't going away, although when the time comes when US fans aren't outnumbered 10-1 most of these gutless weasels won't have quite the stomach for it that they do now.
What's required, indeed what the situation increasingly demands, is an enormous, obvious, overwhelming security presence, well planned crowd flow and control procedures and rapid security response not just to people who are bleeding but to those who are simply a bit frightened.
CONCACAF owes a lot of people an apology but more than that they owe the fans, and the game that they claim to love for more than just it's income potential, whatever efforts are necessary to ensure that everyone feels personally safe.
Until that time comes, until hey're willing to provide basic fan security to whatever extent is necessary, they can see how many tickets they can sell holding the Gold Cup in Haiti.