With tails tucked firmly between their legs, members of both Mexico's senior side and the U23 team returned to Mexico after both teams lost, 2-0, to Colombia and the US respectively. As is always the case, they were mobbed by the members of the press the minute they cleared customs at Mexico City's airport.
There were a lot of questions, naturally, but no answers. The only comments from the players were, "they told us not to talk to you guys."
The players were under a gag order, and the press didn't like it one bit.
Perhaps for the U23 it was a good thing, considering how they were running their mouths off before their friendly with the US. They weren't just going to qualify for the Olympics, they were wondering what color their medal was going to be.
Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Don't get me wrong, I am all for confidence, but hubris, not so much. So color me unsurprised when the clock struck 90 at Pizza Hut Park, and Mexico was at the business end of another dos a cero.
The day after, there they were. One by one, the players turned down any and all questions lobbed in from the masses with mics. And then they were gone. And instead of the narrative being "learn from these defeats, wake up call, yada yada yada..." the narrative became "Silence ordered from on high." You can imagine how much fun that was.
It's no secret that FMF and the press have a contentious relationship. The main reason, of course, is that the FMF's strings are pulled by two media companies who would prefer that if Mexico's players said anything, it would be on their air, webspace, dead tree versions, etc. But that is just not reality.
Instead they perpetuate these massive PR blunders. I have never really understood the airport terminal interview anyway. FMF makes a ton of money off their national team. Yet, they make they players fly commercial. Wow!
What if... they chartered a flight, then once the players cleared customs, there was a 20-30 minute "mixed zone" with that beautiful backdrop with the logos all of those sponsors who have paid so much money to be associated with the Tri, not in the terminal, but in a hangar away from the main terminal. Once time was up, the players are shuttled off to where they need to go, the press gets their soundbytes, the sponsors are happy, and the FMF comes off looking, you know, professional.
Beats the alternative.