Terrorist ? What’s that ?
As mentioned in the previous post, the Zidane send-off has been the big talking point rather than the actual football played during yesterday’s World Cup final. Naturally, the question on everyone’s mind is what Materazzi did or say to provoke Zidane into such an action, since, in spite of Zidane’s record of similar indiscretions earlier (headbutting a player in a Champions League match and stomping on a Saudi player in a previous world Cup match), he is usually pretty calm and composed on the field.
Officially, Zidane has only hinted that Materazzi said something pretty abusive and promised to reveal it in a matter of days. But rumor mills have been on the overdrive, suggesting that Materazzi either said something about Zidane’s mother or called him a ‘dirty terrorist’ – a not so subtle jibe at Zidane’s ethnicity.
The Paris-based anti-racism advocacy group SOS-Racism issued a statement Monday quoting "several very well informed sources from the world of football" as saying Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist." It demanded that FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, investigate and take any appropriate action.
This accusation is pretty serious, especially in a period when FIFA is trying hard to keep racism out of football (anti-racism statements have been read out by team captains and banners displayed before each match of this World Cup). So it is no surprise to see Materazzi coming out with a statement denying the ‘terrorist’ comment. However, that statement itself sounds kind of funny to me:
"It is absolutely not true, I did not call him a terrorist. I’m ignorant. I don’t even know what the word means," the Italian news agency Ansa quoted Materazzi as saying after the Italian team returned to Rome.
Come again ? Unless something has been lost in translation – this is quite an amazing thing to say in this day and age. Where has Materazzi been living for the last few years ? Has he been so engrossed in playing football that he doesn’t know anything about terrorists and terrorism ? I am sure no body is going to believe that ! The statement also sounds like the raised hand and innocent look routine football players indulge in after committing a foul.
So the question remains – what did he say ? Note that Materrazi says he did not call Zidane ‘a terrorist’ – that’s like admitting he did say something. I guess we shall have to wait to hear from Zidane himself.
First Marco Matterazzi called the French star the Italian equivalent of ‘n*****’, and then insulted both his mother and his Muslim background by saying he is the ‘son of a terrorist whore.