The advantages of being “not cultured”

July 11, 2006

Apparently Zinedine Zidane, the French soccer star who head butted an opponent, was responding to an insult the opponent, Marco Materazzi hurled at him. Zidane said Materazzi called him a terrorist. But according to this story posted on newsvine, the Italian said he couldn’t have called him a terrorist because he doesn’t even know what a terrorist is. He’s “not cultured” enough for that.

Here’s what Materazzi said according to the news story.
“I did insult him, it’s true,” Materazzi said in Tuesday’s Gazzetta dello Sport. “But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I’m not cultured and I don’t even know what an Islamic terrorist is.”

Now this is rather ripe for comment. Apparently professional soccer players are isolated enough from the world that they aren’t familiar with one of the most commonly used and over used terms of the last half decade. Also, apparently, it takes a cultured person to throw the really hurtful insults. An only cultured people have much familiarity with the Islamic world. This is all rather bizarre.

But my question was, if you are the crisis manager for Mr. Zidane, what the heck would you do to try to rescue his reputation? The head butt now has been seen by multiple millions of people and of course we did not hear the uncultured insult that prompted it. Is there any hope for the French star’s reputation. He received the award for the top player but now that is a matter of controversy. The whole world cup is overshadowed by one instantaneous act of outrageous stupidity and frustration, as is the career of someone at the top of his game.

Any ideas we can pass on to Mr Zidane?

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5 Responses to “The advantages of being “not cultured””


  1. His story is up on wikipedia, including the 2006 World Cup story. I believe the French brought him out of retirement to help win the 2006 World Cup. He is now retired again (according to Wikipedia) since the 06 Copa Mundial. In America he might end up with his own Car Dealership Franchise such is the case with many retired Football quarterback hall-of-famers. I don’t know what the French equivalent would be.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinedine_Zidane

  2. jean libertin Says:

    First, I find it offensive that the French press would jump to the conclusion that what was said was racist before there was any indication from either player as to what was said. It seems more likely it is the racism that is in the minds of the French themselves that would inspire this.
    Second, calling someone a terrorist (if that even was what was said) is not RACIST. Being a terrorist has nothing to do with anyones race. If we learned any thing from the Americans, it is that Timothy McVey, and American himself, was the worst terrorist that country has ever seen.
    Third, what Zidane did to the Itralian player was, in and of itself, an act of Terrorism. What did he hope to accomplish by such a gesture? Pure revenge for a comment made on the pitch? Why did he walk away cowardly, smiling, and trying to pretnd as if nothing happened? This IS what terrorists do.
    Zideane should be ashamed for what he did, but France should be more ashamed of supporting him.

  3. John L Says:

    Revenge is not, intrisically, a terrorist act and certainly was not in this case. There is little excuse for Zidane’s response but it was surely intended to injure rather than intimidate. The incident does beg the question as to whether verbal abuse (overheard, I am sure, on the plenty of microphones around) should be liable to penalty (sorry Lampard) by a third umpire, along with all the diving and numerous immoral appeals for corners, throw-ins, free-kicks and penalties.

  4. gbaron Says:

    I wish the trash talking in all sports would go away, but I don’t think I’d favor trying to control it through penalties except in the most extreme cases. Those who trash talk show their character and are not respectable sportspeople in my mind. But, unfortunately it is part of the game and occurs in most sports. A violent, vicious reaction clearly crosses the bounds and is not only against the rules of sport, it is an assault that will lead you to jail.
    But, then I won’t get on the subject of hockey.


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