College football season is nearly upon us, and this year the brand is officially expanding. After COVID complications nixed last year’s attempt to hold a game at an international locale, the pandemic has been around for so long that nobody cares anymore. So get ready, people who were upset about their ruined plans to go to Ireland for the Nebraska-Illinois game, here come the Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats.
Everyone, grab your leprechaun-tinged Husker gear, bottles of Jameson, pints of Guinness, and such, and get ready to get shit-faced with the locals. Dubliners are known for their folksy disposition and considerable patience, so let’s check in to see how excited they ar— whoa-my-god.
“If Aer Lingus and the litany of other corporate sponsors involved in this shindig wanted to give Irish sports fans a taste of the authentic college football experience, in all its exploitative, chew-these-young-men-up-and-spit-most-of-them-out glory, they have chosen wisely.”
That’s just a snippet of Irish Times writer Dave Hannigan eviscerating the Nebraska program before Herbie can even put on his green overalls. It seems as if the sins of Husker’s past have been diligently Googled and sorted.
If you’re a fan of the Big Red, and not into masochism, look away.
Hannigan found only a few skeletons in the closet, and sadly he could’ve found more.
He brought up:
- Maurice Washington bailing out the team during its home-opener against South Alabama despite involvement in revenge porn that got him suspended for a half, and eventually dismissed from the team
- Lawrence Phillips breaking into Scott Frost’s apartment, and dragging his ex-girlfriend down flights of stairs before smashing her head into a mailbox
- The university’s stint on probation as a result of Frost’s illegal practices, which got him a five-day ban, which Hannigan noted
- New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s suspension while at UMass for comparing a foul against one of his players to “rape”
- Offensive analyst Ron Brown’s rampant homophobia that goes unchecked because scripture says “homosexuality is a sin”
- The waste of human flesh (my words, not his) “fans” who told three of their own players that they deserved to be lynched for kneeling in protest prior to the national anthem before a game in 2016
Well, when you put it like that…
And that’s not including the shots at the school’s recent struggles and at the farce of American college athletics in general. “An institution with a proud history of winning (although not lately)” was a particularly hurtful barb, but finishing that sentence with “and an equally hard-won reputation for often doing the wrong thing when it matters most” was downright malicious.
A couple of corporations getting together to rattle a few more Euros and/or dollars out of the wallets of more-than-willing consumers is nothing new. It’s like any other promotion, and if what you’re pushing has a trove of past heinous crimes as well as an array of current face plants, the profit has to outweigh the backlash.
These are well-publicized, often-overlooked incidents that most supporters of the school try to forget — or at most furrow their brows and shake their heads at. We know why the Huskers are going to Ireland, and Dave was on that one, too.
“There are sound financial reasons for bringing this match to Dublin. The Nebraska faithful will travel in great numbers and spend hugely. The live television broadcast will include sumptuous shots of scenic Ireland and inevitably twee shamroguery to boot.”
I don’t know what the fuck “twee shamroguery” is, but my guess is it’s the cultural equivalent of donning a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo. Also, I’m using that, and his kicker “Céad míle fáilte” — which means “100,000 welcomes.” Just gotta figure out how to pronounce it.
It’s not every day that your team gets roasted in Gaelic, and even though I’m a Husker fan, I feel a certain kinship with Hannigan. Screaming into the void about the injustices of capitalistic assholes trading their integrity for a sizable profit is three-fourths of what I do.
So, my apologies in advance, Dave. The football program aside, Nebraskans are generally nice people. I don’t have any friends who are rich (or stupid) enough to go to the game, but I’ll remind the ones reading here not to order any Irish car bombs.