Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Absolute Nadir

An exploration of the truly dire today by Paul Hayward at the Guardian/Observer.

He starts off with this thumbsucker to end all thumbsuckers:
Respect for referees was always going to be a hard sell in a culture where civility has broken down, vituperation plagues the blogosphere and the streets seethe with random fury.
Then goes on to suck a little harder...
"Allow me a personal reflection. I have always felt it right to defend the referee against a lynch mob, especially when attacks became a softening-up tool for clubs to protect their interests..."
Just when you think he can't possibly suck any harder, he decides to switch tactics, and blow as loud and wet as he can:

"So far, so obvious. But over the past two weeks it has felt impossible to justify the performances of Martin Atkinson in the Chelsea-Manchester United Premier League match or Massimo Busacca in this week's Barcelona-Arsenal Champions League second leg. Atkinson's failure to send off Chelsea's David Luiz for a glaring second bookable offence and the dismissal of Arsenal's Robin van Persie for going through with a shot after the whistle had blown for offside were too grievous to dismiss with platitudes."
Indeed! "Let me tell you about my rock-ribbed principles, then watch me throw them to the winds as soon as Manchester United and Arsenal are the ones under the slightest threat!"

Craven displays of submission before power (or even fashion) are not rare in sports journalism. I understand this. But it's rare to see someone whine so hard on both sides of an issue as Hayward has done here. Remarkable.