Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Hooray for the USA women’s soccer team: winning with grace and losing with grace

July 18, 2011

The USA women’s soccer lost to Japan in the World Cup final on penalty kicks, but what a show they put on! It really seemed like watching a game, complete with sportsmanship and good feelings all around. No diving, no faking injuries, lots of smiles, and a helping hand whenever an opposing player was knocked down.

They played with incredible energy, outplayed the Japanese except when it came to the important area of getting the ball into the net, and were as gracious in losing as they had been earlier in winning. Megan Rapinoe’s speed and passing, Hope Solo’s goal-keeping, and Alex Morgan’s shooting, bode well for next year’s Olympics.

We hated to lose on a penalty shootout, but we were glad enough to get by Brazil on PKs, so maybe we shouldn’t complain. And if the USA team had to lose, who better to lose to than Japan. See you next year in London.

World Cup: How to stop the kind of cheating that got undeserving Netherlands to the final

July 9, 2010

Here we go again. A World Cup elimination game decided by an illegal play. But this one is of a different character than when Uruguay striker Luis Suarez used his hands to slap away a sure game-winning goal by Ghana. Suarez’s action was forthright, against the rules, duly penalized, but smart. Bad for the game, but not something one could brand as unethical. I proposed a rule change that would eliminate such plays.

But when Netherlands star Arjen Robben fell to the ground, writhing in pretended pain from pretended contact from the Brazilian defender (diving, in world footballspeak), he cheapened the game. The referee was fooled by Robben’s deception into awarding Holland a free kick, which was converted into the deciding goal in a 2- 1 win that ended Brazil’s hopes of another championship.

Robben cheated, and it got his team into the semi-finals against Uruguay, who they beat, 3-2. Now only Spain stands between the Dutch and the championship. It’ll be sad for the game if the Dutch win, their trophy forever tarnished by the way they won it.

There are three ways to reduce the incentive for players to dive: (more…)

Nike takes in billions from official World Cup team jerseys made by $4/day workers

June 28, 2010

I watched the USA soccer team win its group in the World Cup, then lose to Ghana in the knockout round. Then I turned to my second favorite team, Brazil. I’m part of a World Cup television audience of more than a billion fans, and like most of them I lusted after the official team jerseys—a white USA shirt, perhaps, with number 10, Donovan, on the back, or a brilliant yellow and green Brazil shirt, also with number 10, Kaká. No, I think I like best the red and green number seven jersey of the world’s best player, Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo. Seventy dollars for the home jersey, sixty for the more colorful away version. But I won’t be buying any.

All these official jerseys are made by Nike. Well, actually, Nike doesn’t make any sports gear. The shirts are made by a Nike contractor in Indonesia, whose workers earn $4/day, barely enough to pay rent, transportation, water, and two small bowls a day of rice and vegetables.

Nike long ago took the position that it has no responsibility for the pay or working conditions in the factories that make Nike gear, but over the past ten years it has slowly (more…)