Monday, November 21, 2022

FIFA vs. Love

Love loses.

In an increasingly embarrassing display of where its priorities really are, FIFA has capitulated to Qatar's demand that football ("soccer") team captains not wear armbands showing support for equality. It has directed those captains to leave their ethics in the locker room and help make wealthy bigots richer by playing on the field without them.

In a word: disgusting. Specifically, each of the following:

  • Disgusting that FIFA would agree to hold its championships in a nation where being gay is a crime.
  • Disgusting that FIFA has specifically told its players to hide their support. Some of those players are gay.
  • Disgusting that football fans are going to watch the games anyway.
  • Disgusting Disturbing that the players will take the field. Some of those players are gay.

(I demoted that last one because the players aren't all in positions of power that give them much in the way of options.)

Here's a line from the CNN story on this announcement:

France has been part of the season-long campaign but last week captain Hugo Lloris told reporters that he would “respect” the local culture during the tournament.

The local culture? Seriously? The test here is the same as it always is: would he feel the same way if the local culture made it a crime to be Black? I don't know Hugo, but I will credit him with an answer of "no" on the general belief that the right answer comes naturally to fully accredited members of the human race. Alas, it ought to come as easily to our members when the question is about being gay. But it doesn't. Somehow, some way, it still just doesn't. FIFA is going to hold its main event in a country where it is a crime to be Black. Okay, gay. Same thing, for moral purposes. Isn't it?

I demoted what it means for the players to play, because of what it would cost them personally. But consider this: it doesn't have to be personal. It could be all involved. It could be this:

  • FIFA refuses to hold events in countries that make being gay a crime.
  • Fans refuse to watch games in countries that make being gay a crime.
  • Players refuse to play games in countries that make being gay a crime. All of the players.

If the association, the fans, and the teams all said "no, our sport has no place where hate is the law," this wouldn't be happening, no single player would lose a thing, and Qatar wouldn't be getting anything out of it. But that's not what's happening. What's happening is that people from all over the world, who have been showing their support for love and equality, are being made to hide it by a wretched place with lots of oil, all because of money. That calls for just one word.


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