It’s been a disgusting turtle race, as we all knew where this would end and just had to watch a lumbering body make its way there painfully slowly and stupidly (please do not email me with corrections about how smart turtles are). After attempting everything from outright denial to victim-blaming to gaslighting to legal action, the regional leaders of the RFEF have called for Luis Rubiales to resign. While he’ll probably go even more blowhard in his reaction, and that’s while being already suspended by FIFA, we’re at least moving to the conclusion of never hearing from this creep ever again.
Whenever this ends, however noisily this ends, there’s been the predictable flood of laments from various circles that the whole mess tarnishes Spain’s World Cup win, or bemoaning the lack of focus on the winners. It hardly seems there could be more of a contrast between not just the grace and brilliance the Spanish squad showed on the field, but the dignified way they’ve stood behind Jenni Hermoso compared to the behavior of the RFEF. It couldn’t be clearer, which only puts the players who actually won the trophy in a better light. Everyone would have preferred there just to be silence and a smooth sailing into a late summer break for the champions, but this was the hand they were dealt.
A change of focus, or a lack of it on the right things, also sort of misses the point. After a World Cup, the focus isn’t really anywhere. The players take a break before the next season in Europe, fans on this side of the Atlantic turn their focus back to the NWSL. It’s not like there’d be a flood of stories after the initial celebration. Maybe a couple following a few of the players, but nothing massive. We would all have preferred that, but it’s not like this is replacing some spotlight after the tournament. That comes when all these players start suiting up for their club teams again, which will still happen. Maybe they’ll have to face different questions when rolling out for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Levante and wherever else. But by the time the club season starts this should be over.
And the game will be better for it when it’s over. In a few years time, the overhaul of the RFEF will just be tacked on to the list of accomplishments of the Spain team, though that will depend on how it goes exactly. No one’s forgotten Spain’s dominance through the tourney, and we’ll all remember it more vividly in four years’ time at the next one. We won’t remember Rubiales’ name by then.
While we’d like to believe stadiums can prevent this from ever happening, anyone that determined to get on the field can probably find a way. What makes this one more galling than the rest is that security couldn’t see the second guy coming toward Acuna coming even while they were standing around him. It’s not like right field is all that close to the stands. We’re guessing reaction time isn’t part of the hiring process.
It’s pretty easy to tell that players at the US Open only get ferried from a nice hotel to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center and never experience anything else about New York in the summer. If they did, they wouldn’t be complaining about smelling weed during the day. Have them take a stroll through Astoria in late July. They’ll treat the scent of marijuana as the heavenly spice that it is.
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