Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sportsmanship! Viva De Rossi! (A Tale of 2 Players)

What a week. Two teams. Two victories. but boils down to a tale of 2 players.

Soccer is known to be the world's most popular sport. It has become increasingly so competitive that players will be unscrupulous just to get the results. Bad tackles, play-acting, diving, cheating with hands are some of the things done. BUT not this week, in the Serie A Soccer League (Italian), one man made the difference in owning up to a handball-aided equalizer, despite his team (AS Roma) being 1-0 down to Messina. Daniele De Rossi promptly confessed to the referee, who did not see that incident and was about to announce the score 1-1. The referee then disallowed the goal to AS Roma. We need more people like De Rossi. Winning games are not everything. For the record, AS Roma came back and won 2-1 eventually, and even their opponents praised them.

Some quotes from an Italian newspaper:
"Viva De Rossi!" read the front-page headline of sports daily, Corriere dello Sport .

"De Rossi has shown that, as well as being worthy of the national team as a player, he is also worthy as a man," said Messina midfielder Salvatore Sullo .

"He did what should be done in these situations," said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. "He gave an important message to the soccer world, because the referee had not realized (it was handball)". The capital's mayor, Walter Veltroni, reportedly called De Rossi after the game and told him that "your gesture brings honour on Rome and on your team" .

Other links to the sporting incident:
(1) The Star Malaysia

In stark contrast, another handball incident in the EPL game (Chelsea vs Man City) went unnoticed by the referee. Didler Drogba clearly handled the ball with his hands and in the process scored a goal. He kept quiet and celebrated his goal instead. Now one can say that the referee did not see it. But, in true spirit to the game of football, is that sportsmanship?
Follow this link to read the Drogba episode, which to me, sucks and my thumbs down for Chelsea, and in particular Drogba. (It is like cheating in class and getting an A, saying that as long as the teacher did not catch the cheating, the A still stands. For me, that A is no A. Rather an honest B/C than a dishonest A.)

Victory before sportsmanship? or Sportsmanship before victory? For me, we need to eventually say that afterall, it is just a game. So it is far better to be sporting. For De Rossi's team, victory is fair and enriching, even with opponents applauding them. For Drogba's team, victory is suspect and opponents cried foul. Is the price of victory worth it? You tell me.



1 comment:


I remember an incident when Liverpool was playing Arsenal back then (think it was the 1999-2000 season) when Liverpool was leading 1-0 and Robbie Fowler was charging down on goal towards Arsenal's keeper David Seaman. He was seemingly tripped by Seaman and was awarded a straight penalty. But good ole Robbie got up and quickly waved to the ref telling him there wasn't any contact. But he was eventually given the penalty. Guess who took the penalty? Robbie himself. He took a lame shot and was saved by David Seaman but the rebound was put in by another Liverpool player to put the team 2-0. That's another good example of good sportsmanship. :)

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