Monday, 30 June 2014

A response to Ann Coulter

An American woman named Ann Coulter, apparently well known if you are American, but unknown if you are not, penned a diatribe against the beautiful game, the link is below. Read her and then read on.

Her Wikipedia page states that she is an American conservative social and political commentator, etc. so why she is attacking football in such a strong fashion that I feel a strong rebuttal of her article is necessary

Having looked into her career, she seems rather like a Luis Suarez in that she likes to bite in a literal sense, and has a bit of Mario Baliotelli, in her as well, he is "Why always Me", she seems to be "All about Me".

This is not an attack on Ms Coulter, (or on Americans in general, although it may seem so sometimes). It is just an attempt to set her straight as she has obviously never watched a game of football in her life.

Ms Coulter is obviously the type of American, who as Bill Bryson put it so succinctly in his book  The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America, who is surprised to learn, that the Moscow mentioned in the news is not in Idaho but in some far away place called Russia.

To the article, her comments are in blue.

1) part a - Individual achievement is not a big factor in Soccer. Do they even have MVPs (Most valuable Player for those not American)

Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, to name the last two world players of the year, an award given for individual brilliance and skill. One is from Portugal, the other from Argentina, so the emphasis is on the word world in reference to her point 7 about football being foreign.

It is interesting to note here, that the last world baseball tournament was not actually won by the Boston Red Sox but by the Dominican Republic that great powerhouse of sport. The Boston Red Sox won the domestic title rather incongruously known as the world series, due to the egocentric nature of a lot of Americans.

1) part b- and I will paraphrase, Players make mistakes all in front of a crowd. When baseball players strike out they are alone at the plate. But there is also individual glory in home runs, touchdowns and slam dunks.    Ryan Giggs 1999 individual run and goal  James Rodriguez 2014 World Cup

In soccer, the blame is dispersed. There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child's fragile self esteem is bruised.

As we already know, Ms Coulter has never seen a penalty shoot out, so she doesn't know about damage to self esteem, being labelled a loser or accountability for the one who misses a vital penalty. What is the Italian Roberto Baggio most remembered for?
Missing the Penalty that gave Brazil the 1994 World Cup 

She has obviously never heard of one Steven Gerrard, Liverpool's most famous son since the Fab four. (aka the Beatles)

In the space of two months, mistakes he made in front of a world audience has led to his club team (Liverpool) not winning the league and his National Team (England) failing to progress at the world cup.

He has been blamed and will always be remembered for those mistakes.

As for children, almost all of us had to suffer the agonies of being the last one to be chosen for a pick up game, because nobody wanted you on their team.

2) Football is not a co-ed sport to my knowledge, certainly not at a professional level.

4) The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. In hockey, there are three or four fights a game. 

For the personal humiliation, I refer back to penalty misses. For the injury, I don't want to post pictures of horrific broken legs or noses, which are sadly part and parcel of the game.
Why don't you go and watch boxing or wrestling then? You seem to like pain. Violence is not the point of the sport, for a supposedly intelligent women, so far you have not displayed much proof of that.

5)You can't use your hands in soccer

This has always been one of my favourites, In American football I believe only the punter and the kicker actually use their feet to touch the ball, funny for a game that is called football. Whereas in association football only the goalkeeper is allowed to use his hands in an attempt to stop the ball being kicked with a foot into his goal.

7) They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.

The most sensible line in your whole article

9) Soccer is not catching on. Headlines this week proclaimed "Record U.S. ratings for World Cup

We are then provided with some impressive stats re viewing figures

USA-Portugal game was the blockbuster match, garnering 18.2 million viewers on ESPN
Run-of-the-mill, regular-season Sunday Night Football games average more than 20 million viewers. this year's Super Bowl had 111.5 million viewers.

Ms Coulter, Hell, I watched the Superbowl, I love it, and it starts at 01.30 am where I live, but did you watch the Superbowl ? or perhaps I should phrase the question differently.
The Superbowl is an event which happens to rotate around an American Football game. It is an excuse for a party, a getting together of friends, to eat, drink and be merry.
A lot of the viewers are watching just to see the half time show or the great commercials which air during the Superbowl. Ask a lot of those 111.5 million viewers, how much of the game they actually watched ?
I doubt that they saw more than a few minutes of the actual game or understood what was happening if they did.

The NFL is mainly played on a Sunday and at prime times for television. The USA-Portugal game was actually watched by more than stated above by Ms Coulter, there were another 6.5 million viewers who watched on the Spanish language channel.(reading between the lines Ms Coulter does not seem to welcome your prescence in her beloved country) The figures do not take into account those watching the game in bars, at work or in World Cup viewing areas.

I would like to see the numbers for the Germany- USA game which was played at 12.00 noon on a week-day, I imagine the figures were still pretty good. The USA - Belgium game with a 18.00pm kick off Tuesday could set a new record.

The point is that numbers can be massaged to suit the view of the proponent of whatever theory they are putting forward. They don't always tell the whole picture.

In soccer, the women's games are as thrilling as the men's. 

As to women's soccer, I watched the last women's world cup final in 2011. It was amazing to see Japan beat the mighty US of A who have the best supported women's league in the world.

Do you believe women shouldn't be playing sports ?

I am not really interested about the demographic switch happening in America.
I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer
What about all those Americans who are descendants of the German and Italian waves of immigration of more than a 100 years ago, I would guess they also enjoy cheering on the Mannschaft or the Azurri as they finally get to reconnect with their roots.

Ms Coulter, going back to the Superbowl, you need to take heed of the advice from this volkswagen commercial from 2013

Chill Ann


  1. Very good article!
    As I commented to a number of my American friends, not liking football is your choice (your loss, but your choice), but please leave those of us who do enjoy it alone.
    I happen not to especially enjoy the ballet. However, I am also highly uneducated about the ballet. For this reason, I choose not to write articles criticising the ballet. This is the advice I would give to Ms Coulter

  2. I think Ms Coulter might be more suited to Ice Hockey fights, where they waddle into each other, than boxing, which is more about skill than violence!

    Quality volkswagen ad... and still loving Giggsy's chest hair from 99.

  3. She writes without actually knowing what she is talking about (not a good characteristic for a political commentator, but she has made a mint from it, so who knows?). No player accountability? What about Andres Escobar, the Colombian defender whose own goal caused his national team to be dumped out of the World Cup in 1994? Does she know what happened to him? He was assassinated for his mistake, less that two weeks later.
    Here it is: