By now I assume most of my friends have seen, discussed, read and then re-assessed the Zinedine Zidane head-butting incident during the World Cup Finals . Being in Siwtzerland during the finals, I can tell you this is probably the hottest topic on the streets.
Zidane, captain of the French soccer team and a soccer legend, played his last game in professional soccer at the…guess what?..the WORLD CUP FINALS. Howver, one minor glitch! He finished the game by getting kicked out on a red card for literally head-butting an Italian player (Marco Materazzi) in the chest. All those who watched the match were naturally shocked to see the incident; and the match had not even ended that the internet chat rooms were abuzz with discussion on why he soccer legend do what he did? Why would a world class player, in probably one of his most important games, do something so stupid and nasty? What was it that the Italian player said to him to provoke him to the point that he let go of his emotions and responded so physically? A lot of viewers were disturbed, even disgusted, by his act and questioned how would he ever redeem himself?
Well – there are obviously lots of theories floating around on why he did what he did. I am quite interested in finding out the truth myself. Some people have charged that Zidane has always had a bad temperament (as he has seen red cards before), and that he just lost his cool and professionalism in a stupid argument. But, I somehow don’t buy that. There are others who are digging deeper into this, and are employing rather sophisticated techniques to crack this puzzle. Below is an excerpt from Times Online (UK) that did invetigation on its own. The report suggests that zidane was called the son of a “terrorist whore” – and as an Algerian immigrant he took the slur rather personally. If he really did react this way in response to a racial/religious slur, whether he redeems himself in the eyes of the European audience or not, he will surely become a hero in the Muslim world. Would this justify his action? No. But the reality is that as European muslims struggle to find their place in the societies, such incidents allow them to remember that the prejudice can sometimes run deep and can show up in the least expected places. The truth in this case, I hope, will come out itself in a few days when Zidane may speak himself. Let me know if you find out what happened first….
Times Online: (www.timesonline.co.uk)
As L’Equipe summed up the moment of madness with a headline of “Regrets Éternels”, a day of endless questioning began. With many conflicting versions of events circling on the internet and in the world’s media, The Times enlisted the help of an expert lip reader, Jessica Rees, to determine the precise nature of the dialogue that caused Zidane to react in such a manner.
After an exhaustive study of the match video, and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed that Materazzi called Zidane “the son of a terrorist whore” before adding “so just f*** off” for good measure, supporting the natural assumption that the Frenchman must have been grievously insulted.
As the son of two Algerian immigrants, the 34-year-old is proud of his North African roots, dedicating France’s 1998 World Cup win to “all Algerians who are proud of their flag and all those who have made sacrifices for their family but who have never abandoned their own culture”, so such a slur would certainly explain, if not justify, his violent response.
When asked about the allegations on his return to Rome, Materazzi issued a vehement denial, while sources close to the player emphasised that he had not been accused of racism before, pointing to his close friendship with Obafemi Martins, the Nigeria and Inter Milan striker.