Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Zidane apologizes ... not!

In an age of non-apology apologies being offered routinely, as if they make anything better, head-butting French soccer star Zinedine Zidane may have raised the bar to a new level. AP reports, “Zidane apologizes for head butt.”

“'I apologize, to all the children' who watched the match Sunday, Zidane said in his first, highly-awaited comments about the act of violence that marked the end of his career. Zidane did not specify exactly what Italian defender Marco Materazzi said that enraged him, but that it was insulting to his sister and mother.

“...The France captain said he felt no regret for his act, ‘because that would mean (Materazzi) was right to say all that.’”

It seems to me Zidane would have been better off just keeping his mouth shut, than saying what AP has him quoted as saying. Basically, he’s saying he’s been forced -- by some hidden reason, perhaps money? -- to say he’s apologizing. So, he says he’s apologizing to children -- aww, isn’t that sweet? -- then he says he won’t tell us why he did it, but it had to do with protecting the honor of his mother. Oh ... and, it’s all the other guy’s fault.

Well, at least it’s nice to know that the self-centered and pampered professional athlete, who acts like a jerk, is not a phenomenon that is confined to American sports. Monsieur Zidane is not only a world-class soccer player, he’s apparently a world-class lout. Might we call him the Head Butt?


kaki33 said...

"Zidane est un grand homme" and we don't care what you think about it, you don't know this guy before his head buttJust talk about American sports

F.T. Rea said...


I understand Zidane is popular. And, I'm sure his fans are quite unhappy about what happened. However, I don't think he has made anything better with his worthless apology. My comment was about that apology. One doesn’t need to know much about soccer, or French celebrity athletes, to make such an observation.

When you say, “...we don’t care what you think about it.” Are you a spokesperson for a group? What group?

Thanks for the comment, but I’m going to turn down your advice, and continue to talk/write about what I choose.

Anonymous said...

Why can't a grown up stand up and defend for himself and his family? He just wants to indicate to children that violent is bad at the same time you have to defend for yourself. You can just get into a fight for no reason. He should only apologize to the those parents who brought their kids to the watch the game. Other than that, if those broadcasters care so much about children behavior then stop repeatedly running the clip. Should the broadcasters apologize? Absolutely!!! Same as the Superbowl incident. Sensor the content before broadcasting.

F.T. Rea said...


There's a lot of denial going on here. And, not much sportsmanship.

Of course a man should stand up for his family. But how he does it, and when, is another matter. What I saw was a man attacking another man, during a game. I can't see how that is standing up for one's family.

It seemed more like an angry man standing up for his own bad temper. Now, instead of a true apology, he rationalizes his action. To me, that's a man not taking responsibility for his own mistake.

Now you blame the broadcasters. That’s silly.

Face it: Zidane lost his cool. France lost the championship. And, the two things are connected, like it or not.

Politicl.Animal said...

OK ... I don't have a big problem with what Zidane did.

Yes, it was illegal ... but he got a red card and was ejected. The system worked. If he had committed the foul and gotten away with it, that would be a different story.

And I have to assume he knew that he could be ejected, and decided to do what he did anyway. If in his mind it was worth it, then it was worth it. Did he let down his teammates? Yes. Did he let down his country? Yes. Is he a jerk for those reasons? Maybe. But are we calling Ben Roethlisberger a jerk for not wearing his helmet for riding a motorcycle? Or was it just "unwise"?

If Zidane thought the insult deserved that response, well, I'm not going to sit on my couch and say he was wrong. Was his judgment flawed? The jury would seem to say yes.

All I know is that on the soccer field (and the baseball field, and the football field, and the basketball court), when the trash talking has crossed a line, I myself have not always turned the other cheek. I've received my share of fouls and yellow cards for responding to idiots. And I'm not about to throw stones in this case.

Politicl.Animal said...

5 Reasons Why I Don’t Have a Large Problem With Zidane’s Headbutt

F.T. Rea said...

Politicl Animal,

Soccer is not my game. But I did play sports all the time as a kid, and I played a lot of organized basketball and softball as an adult. Alas, now Frisbee-golf is all that’s left of my so-called “career.” And, I’ve gotten angry and said/done some things during games that I wished I hadn’t. Some I regretted more than others.

Plus, I’ve covered sports, on a freelance basis, for over 20 years. So, I’ve seen a few games, too. Thus, I’m hardly a shrinking violet who gets shocked when guys loose their cool in competition. Then again, part of the test of keen competition is whether you can play with intensity, without losing control. Isn’t it?

That said, my original post reacted to Zidane’s lame apology. My post wasn’t about soccer, it was about denial on a large stage. If Zidane is really worried about children, his performance today wasn’t much of an example to be setting. He shirked his responsibility.

When I hear a person say, “I want to apologize if my remarks offended anyone, but what I said was totally justified,” that’s not an apology, and it gets my goat. We hear such non-apologies all the time, these days, in sports and in politics. Either apologize, or don't. That’s what I was griping about.

Zidane means nothing to me, but he means a lot to some people, some of them children. I think he let those folks down.

It reminds me of how basketball coach Bobby Knight blamed everyone but himself for his temper tantrums. A lot of folks worshipped Knight. He let them down, in the worse way. I have little respect left for Knight, a man I used to admire.

With his remarks today, Zidane showed a thorough lack of class that I thought ought to be cited. He’d had time to calm down, and think about it. Still, he chose to hide behind a mystery's skirts and blame the other guy for “making him do it.”

Finally, there’s a lot of difference between deliberately head-butting an opponent during a game, and in accidentally head-butting a car, in the off-season. Was Ben Roethlisberger unwise? Sure. Jerk? No, not in my book.

Politicl.Animal said...


I hear you. I think it's a product of our PC universe that people feel compelled to apologize for causing offense, but we're still too proud to say "I was wrong," so we get these half-assed apologies that, as you said, probably shouldn't have even been said at all.

Can we make a distinction between feeling sorry for how others view the action, and feeling sorry for the action itself? Can we really apologize for how others react? Ozzie Guillen's recent comments, including the use of a slur, probably should be included in that discussion, as well as your example of Bobby Knight. Maybe even that most famous of semi-apologies, Clinton's August 1998 masterpiece?

Anonymous said...

Sportmanship for other people to slap your face around in the field? I don't think so.

I don't know why people care so much about children reaction in response to the incident while they're showing the clip over and over again on tv? What make you think whatever the broadcasters are doing is just? To attract more viewers? I guess so.

As for Zidane, he truely apologized for his uncool reaction and acknowledged that it shouldn't have happened. At the same time, he's calling for justic here. What has provoked him? He has to take the other guy into the game too. I don't think he should be the only one held responsible for the whole incident. To me, he's only apologizing for his reaction toward the provocation and the other guy has to apologize as well. And I think that sounds more like how we were taught back in elementary school.

However, stand up for yourself if you're a grown up because the soccer field isn't the same as a classroom. Zidane can't run to the referee and report whatever the other guy said because the referee won't give a dime or it is too personal to say or the referee might think Zidane is acting like a kid.

I don't think you ever lose the championship, you can only win it. There's only one team who can win the WC championship every 4 years and Italy deserved it because they have better luck (and probably better skill) at the penalty kick. Would France had won the championship if Zidane was in? May be, may be not. The penalty kick that French team missed with the penalty that Zidane scored is different with each other by an inch as the ball hit the bar. And I don't see how Zidane lost his cool is connected with France not winning the championship. That's just an ackward relationship.

-same anonymous

F.T. Rea said...

same anonymous,

If Zidane had said something like this -- "It happened. Yes, like many people, I wish it hadn't. Thank you for your support, I have nothing more to say." -- then, I would not have posted anything about his head-butt, or his apology. I watched the game but I’m no soccer aficionado.

Instead, Zidane shifted blame. To have had a great career, and end it that way, is tragic. His comments today didn't help him.