Two weeks ago Ann Coulter, the conservative political pundit, unloaded on the game of soccer, averring that ” Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay. “ In her column she then proceeded to tell us why she felt so. Here is a synopsis of her reasons with my reactions ; the italicized portions are direct quotes of Coulter’s.
1. Soccer is collectivist. ( … the blame is dispersed and no one scores anyway. There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability). Really, Ann. Try telling that to anyone on the Brazilian team that took the field against Germany. Or to Jose Luis Scolari, the Brazilian coach. I don’t think they will ever live down the ignominy of that defeat. As for heroes, three of the top highest paid athletes in the world are soccer players. They wouldn’t command that kind of money unless fans lionized them, paid to watch them play and bought their merchandise.
2.Soccer is effeminate. (… a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys.) Soccer demands more from players than any other sport in the world. 90 minutes of total effort, only three substitutions. The only other sport that comes at all close is basketball but it only lasts 48 minutes, has frequent stoppages and players go in and out of the game.
4. Real sport carries the prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury; soccer doesn’t. For humiliation, see my response to item 1. As for personal injury, I’d think that Neymar’s injury certainly qualifies, don’t you?
5. You can’t use your hands in soccer. So what? That’s why they call it football in most parts of the world. Duh !
6. Soccer is being pushed on Americans.( the same people … are demanding that we love HBO’s ” Girls”, light rail, Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.)This is so ridiculous it doesn’t deserve a rebuttal.
7.It’s foreign. Well, so what? Not everything good is of American origin.
8.It’s like the metric system, which is also European. That again ? I like the British system but I recognize that the metric system is more logical, has innumerable advantages and is the world standard. Only the U.S, Liberia and Myanmar still follow the British system and we will have to change sooner or later.
9. Soccer is not catching on. Not true. More people watched the Portugal – U.S game than watched last year’s World Series or this year’s NBA finals.
Coulter concludes her diatribe by writing “ If more Americans are watching soccer today, it’s only because of the demographic switch effected by Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law. No American whose grandfather was born here is watching soccer.” Partly true. There is no doubt that many of the American soccer fans are immigrants, particularly Hispanics. However, there is an increasing number of native born Americans who are beginning to like the game. A case in point is my neighbor and friend, a’ real’ American of the type that Coulter would approve of. He is a WASP, was born in this country, and I know he is reading Glenn Beck’s latest book. He also follows the World Cup avidly, ( as do his son and grandson), and he used to coach when his son played soccer as a kid. Now , the grandson plays soccer and loves it.
Ann Coulter’s broadside was so beyond the pale that other commentators have wondered if it was not tongue in cheek. Some have opined that it was deliberately inflammatory because it was a means of keeping herself in the spotlight. I wondered about that myself before rejecting both theories. Coulter doesn’t have a funny bone in her body and while she is a publicity seeker, the references to the New York Times, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy’s immigration law lead me to think that conservative politics is at the root of her explosion. Too bad for her. The New York Times will be around long after Ann Coulter is forgotten and Hillary Clinton will be the President in 2016, if she chooses to run. Better get used to the idea , Ann.