England, Where You Can't Wear a Mankini and People Cry When They Get Booed Michael Bertin writes about soccer regularly for Deadspin. Ashley Cole—that's him in the white—seemingly has plenty going for him. He's relatively young (27), he's got a hot plastic wife, and he gets compensated handsomely to do his job, which is a pretty sweet one as he plays left back for Chelsea FC and, when occasion demands, the English national side. But he's also hated. Probably for the reasons above and probably augmented by things like his throwing a hissyfit when Arsenal offered him only $110,000 a week instead of the $120,000 he demanded; and that he may or may not have an open relationship with his wife where she let's him vomit on strange women for pleasure.So when a casual pass across the England backline by Cole led to an easy goal for visiting Kazakhstan in Saturday's World Cup qualifier, he got booed. The 5-1 final makes it look like a walkover, but Cole's gaffe cut England's lead to 2-1. If not for a Kazakh own goal and sitter of a missed header the scoreline could have easily been in favor (oops, favour) of the guests at that point. And the English fans, never lacking for appetite when a chance comes to eat one of their own, were relentless. For the next 20 minutes, any time Cole got near the ball, sections of the crowd vocally pelted him. The lack of class and appropriateness was all the English papers, the FA, the coach, and the team talked about after picking up the three points. Really? The country that unleashed Georges Boy and Michael on an unsuspecting world is going to tell fans what they can and cannot wear then give the rest of us a cultural lecture on civility? Okay, A) Pussies. Seriously, grow up. In true superpowers, reasonable discussions aren't about if someone will be booed, but about how punitive the abuse will actually be. And B) If the current global economic collapse teaches us anything, it's that people have a right, if not a duty, to boo. No, really. Part of the U.S. Treasury bailout plan had a provision limiting executive compensation for firms that stuck out a hand. Free market worshippers objected in part because limiting price causes shortages. Sure, it looks that way when you draw out the supply and demand curves, but there is a more fundamental problem with markets for CEOs: they don't price in risk, probably because there's not much of it. Look at Zheng Xiaoyu. He was the Chinese head of their equivalent of the FDA. After bogus drugs and tainted dog food started killing people and pets across the planet, he was killed. Executed by the government. And that's why the Chinese are going to overtake us. They are communists, and they have a better handle on making markets efficient. Here, you can be to some degree responsible for the evaporation of several hundred million dollars of wealth and almost nothing happens to you (Jeffrey Skilling being the exception that proves the rule). Something should. Hey, want to be CEO of Goldman? Great, you do a bang up job, you're going to get $200M in base and an unlimited supply of gold-plated strippers to give you a continuous rim job if you like. You fail? You're going to have your head cut off and your rib cage used as a planter for an herb garden, then given to your successor as a reminder of what happens when you fuck things up. Safe bet people would have been far more mindful of the mortgages they packaged into CMO's if that were the case. With the possible exception of Columbia , world fútbol has a similar problem. There's not much downside risk priced into being a player because, well, save for the odd ankle injury (Warning: not safe for the squeamish), there's not much risk there. So as fans, we have an obligation to bring that to the market. I'm not advocating actual death. I'd have a hard time enjoying my hatred of Ashely Cole if he were a corpse, plus, as the Pre-Columbian Americans figured out, it's just bad strategy. What they gained in short-term post-game ratings by killing the losers they gave up pretty quickly by completely draining the athlete talent pool. I'm not even advocating booing necessarily. It is kind of boorish, and as far as attacking the psychology of an athlete, it's not particularly creative or effective. But the fact is, there's aren't enough repercussions for screwing up. Against any quality opponent, the goal that resulted from Cole's arrogant lob toward his own box is the difference between a win and a loss, getting out of a World Cup group, advancing in the knockout stages, etc. I'm all for a prissy twit like Cole making £60K a week (if someone is willing to pay it), but he should be earning every penny of it. And if 20 minutes of booing is the biggest risk he faces at the workplace, then something is wrong with the labor market in soccer. England Manager leaps to Ashley Cole's Defence [Telegraph.co.uk] Andres Escobar Own Goal in '94 World Cup [YouTube.com]