Mario (Barwuah) Balotelli Does Something Right

According to this article, Italian/Manchester City bad boy Mario Balotelli will be wearing both his Ghanaian and Italian last names on his shirt for Euro 2012. http://www.sport24.co.za/Soccer/Euro2012/Balotelli-to-sport-two-names-20120605

Balotelli’s reason for doing this is to combat the racism which it is feared black players will face in Poland and the Ukraine during the tournament. He says he will leave the pitch in protest if he is racially abused. Balotelli has a (rather deserved) reputation as a petulant hothead, but this decision of his is spot-on. The fans are there to be entertained, and if they don’t appreciate the players’ efforts and choose to be bigots instead, they deserve to have the players refuse to play for them.

On a closely related issue, I understand the political reasons why organizations such as UEFA and FIFA want to stage their tournaments in (to be nice, for lack of a better phrase) football backwaters such as Poland, the Ukraine, and, in the case of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar. But giving these showcase tournaments to countries that can’t even guarantee the safety of all the players (not to mention the fans), and in Qatar’s case to a country that treats women as sub-human, is, frankly, bullshit. Trying to be “fair” to minnows like Poland by letting them stage a tournament every once in a while only makes sense if they deserve to host a tournament, which it is becoming clearer and clearer that they don’t. The fact that Balotelli has to make his jersey gesture against racism in the first place shows that there is something wrong. UEFA should have taken care of this problem in the first place by giving the tournament to a safer country.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

One thought on “Mario (Barwuah) Balotelli Does Something Right

  1. Mario Balotelli doing something right is indeed a rarity. I had not heard of the jersey decision until reading this. Good on him!!! I also didn’t know that Qatar got the WC in 2022. WTF??? They do know it’s hot as shit there right? Sepp Blatter is consistent in doing some truly stupid things. The average high temp from May through Sept is over 100 degrees.

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