The Washington Post reported with some amusement apparently the sports minister of the Republic of South Africa [one Fikile Mbalula] was apparently a bad sport (and I agree: he was!) over his team’s 64-0 pasting of the US rugby squad. Here’s a highlight or two for the reading pleasure of my sports imperialist readers:
Here’s one tweet:
POSTCARD From: South Africa To: United States of America MESSAGE: LMAO
And some of the final paragraphs of the article – this guy is serious:
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking: “This can’t be real.” But then you don’t know Mbalula. The man tells it like it is, whether he’s online or not, especially when it comes to rugby.
Last month it was his own team who became the victim of his words. After the Springboks lost to Japan, 34-32, he warned them they were in danger of being labeled “a bunch of losers” if they couldn’t emerge from the Rugby World Cup victoriously. Thankfully for the players’ reputation, their win over the United States secured them a spot in the quarterfinals, where they’re expected to crush Wales.
The United States, meanwhile, is out of contention having lost three matches in a row. They’ll play one last match against Japan on Sunday.
I can’t wait until Sunday. After all Japan actually defeated RSA and we lost 64-0 to RSA!
But three observations:
The Rugby World Cup probably has pro players in it and I have no issue with that. It is designed for each nation to put forth their best teams – pro or amateur. But the Olympics was not intended or designed to be another world cup or pro tournament (see golf or tennis) and thus the pro athletes dominating the Olympics is offensive.
How you like your other foot? We were Nigeria today in rugby. So how does it feel? Do you feel: Angry? Embarrassed? Humiliated? That is what other nations feel EVERY FOUR YEARS! Let’s do something about it – renounce pro athletes at the Olympics.
Third and finally, maybe the gloating of the RSA sports minister, as poor taste as it was, and it was in poor taste, was a reaction to our Olympic broadcasting of the Games – glorify excessively the US teams and especially when they win. I largely (but not totally) agree with Michael Callahan on this but I would have said it differently and less dramatically (and without a choice word or two)! Maybe it is payback. Let’s take payback out of the Olympics.
I can’t wait until next summer – the Games in Rio! Again, my coverage of the Olympics (Lord willing and if I am still blogging) will not be any rooting of any pro athlete in the Games, US or otherwise, and I’ll honor again those nations who win their first medal. Be ready!
Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders