Football mourns Piermario Morosini

Once again, just four weeks after Fabrice Muamba collapsed during an FA Cup match, football is confronted with the unexplainable.

Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, 25, passed away on Saturday after suffering a heart attack during his side’s Serie B match away to Pescara. The match was called off after 31 minutes as the former Italy U-21 international received emergency medical attention, which included the use of a defibrillator, and all Italian matches were cancelled for the weekend after he was pronounced dead at Santo Spirito hospital.

Those are all the facts we need to know. The more intimate details of Morosini’s passing are already, and unfortunately, being picked over and scrutinized with nauseating enthusiasm by certain elements of the Italian press, who have even found the hint of a scandal at which to feign horror.

Such spectaclization misses the point entirely. It’s not the minutiae of a death that compels fascination; it’s the mystery. And we don’t expect to be confronted with such mysteries while we enjoy our football. We don’t expect football to suddenly and inexplicably overlap with solemn, real-world things. Life-and-death things.

For the majority of us who didn’t know Piermario Morosini our emotions, our attachment to the person on the pitch, can only go so far. It’s the mystery of death and our very human discomfort with it that constitutes the shared experience, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The tragedy here is that a young man doing what many of us have dreamed of doing—playing professional sport—passed away so young, doing that thing he and us so love. Whether we knew him or not, it’s a tragedy worth mourning, and we do his memory a better tribute if our reactions are tasteful and reflect where his death truly connected with us.


Reaction from around Italy

  • A glance at the headlines in the major Italian football press proved an accurate indicator of the sensitivity with which they treated Morosini’s passing. La Gazzetta dello Sport opted to lead off with “Morire di calico” (Dying from football). Notice how they didn’t even include the name of the victim. Corriere dello Sport ran with the more tasteful “Calcio in lutto per Morosini” (Football mourns Morosini) and Tuttosport introduced its coverage with “Addio Morosini” (Farewell Morosini).
  • All three outlets chose to include footage of the incident on their websites, but while Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport had their links below a selection of articles about the tragedy La Gazzetta dello Sport had a large link at the very top of the page. Their treatment of the story was easily the most distasteful of the major outlets, and that their headline didn’t include Morosini’s name seemed to suggest their view that his passing was more an exhibition of a death, to be watched and replayed, than the solemn last moments of a human being—something their placement of the footage jives with.
  • All three outlets made mention of the police vehicle that initially blocked the ambulance’s path into the ground, but while cardiologist Leonardo Paloscia told reporters the delay had no impact on Morosini’s situation, Gazzetta posted a link at the top of its website (next to footage of the player’s collapse) suggesting the hold-up may have contributed to the tragedy.

Follow Jerrad Peters on Twitter @peterssoccer