The Ugly American

That’s Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King on Malian referee Koman Coulibaly—perhaps now the most hated man in America—who called yesterday’s already infamous match between USA and Slovenia (which ended in a 2–2 draw for those who don’t know). King’s also got a column to go with this tweet.

I have no words. But thankfully, others do.

From Zunguzungu:

Peter King’s SI column, for example, is really just run of the mill chauvinism; his dark mutterings about how Coulibaly — “from the landlocked West African country of Mali” — must be unprepared for his job since he only previously refereed in the African Cup of Nations is the sort of sports-commenter crypto racism that the US has been producing more and more of lately, but which has been pretty standard issue in Europe for quite a while. We’ll need more of that in the days to come, but don’t fool yourself: every newspaper in England has at least half a dozen writers capable of turning out that kind of performance at the drop of a hat. And his wailing indignation just demonstrates what an amateur hour dog and pony show he’s running. You get the idea that he really does think he’s the first soccer commentator to demand accountability from FIFA, which I bet he even knows how to pronounce. I hope someday he has the chance to cry and moan after a ref takes away his victory in the semifinals or the quarterfinals, or even the finals themselves. And maybe, just maybe, someday God himself will reach down onto the pitch and hand victory to his opponents.

Read the rest here. It’s an excellent takedown. For more reactions from around the world’s blogosphere, I suggest this nice round-up from Global Voices. Also weighing in is Our Man in America. Even the New York Times comes to Coulibaly’s defense, sort of.

I stand with Coulibaly. Let’s hope FIFA doesn’t drop him for the rest of the Cup.


38 thoughts on “The Ugly American

  1. The (French) referee in the Brazil v Ivory Coast game was far worse. As noted on twitter though, it seems the French have long forgotten the handball rule.

  2. 1. I repeatedly stated that “calling people out for suspect remarks” as you put, is a just cause. My point was simply that you are very selective in whom you call out.
    2. Your suggestion to those who, according to you, “don’t understand” that they are in the “wrong place” is pretty dismissive and rigid.
    If you are going to take the time to make a response, why not address my (mild) criticism? Or is this blog (which I enjoy immensely btw) simply a place where the like-minded pat themselves on the back, while others are told to find their own “place?”

  3. Bad calls?

    1. Brett Hull’s “no goal” in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals.

    2. 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    Relax, America! You’re still making it to the knock out round.

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