With talk of suspensions and discipline coming against Canada’s women’s soccer team after their public flogging of Norwegian official Christiana Pedersen, it would make sense to see if the team had any regrets after they captured a bronze medal for their efforts against France. After all, apologizing is the Canadian way. I mean, how often have you (provided you are Canadian) apologized to someone who walked into you for example? For many Canadians this is a daily occurrence.
Naturally it follows that it would make sense for Canadians to publicly apologize for tearing a strip off of a FIFA official. So, when asked if she felt that they had gone too far in their criticism of the ref, Christine Sinclair said sorry, right?
“No,” Sinclair said on Friday.
So, you stand by your comments?
“Yes,” she said.
No need to clarify them?
“It’s an emotional game,” she said. “We’d just lost a chance at a gold medal. For some of us, that’s a childhood dream, gone. And yeah, we felt it was a little unfair at times.”
Even though you could have been suspended? SUSPENDED?!
“That’s what I hear,” Sinclair said on Friday. “With some of the things that we said to the media, if they were going to suspend myself or Melissa Tancredi, then they would have had to suspend our whole team. We were frustrated and mad, and I think we refused to just be okay with it — we wanted to say things, because that’s how we felt.”
Hmmm, I see. Well then.
I must say from a totally biased Canadian perspective, this is objectively awesome. If I remove myself from the equation, it is also objectively awesome.
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve witnessed a Canadian football team — men’s or women’s — get royally screwed. And I don’t even mean in a semi-secretive way. I mean in a flagrant ‘this ref is out to get us’ way. CONCACAF qualifiers, especially the ones featuring Canada says I, have featured some of the most atrocious reffing in the history of things that need refs. As in, ‘show this to everyone who wants to be an official so they know what not to do’ bad.
It’s infuriating, as anyone who cares will tell you. And to see our women get so close — against a number one USA team no less — and fall victim to an atrocious official was more of the same. Numbing.
But the fallout this time was different. To hear Christine Sinclair and Melissa Tancredi come out and rip the official for it was something incredibly vindicating after years and years of being crapped on. To know we would go on and play for a medal and make it clear that we’re mad as hell, that was spectacular. No more nice Canadian silliness. We got screwed and you’ll be damned if you don’t hear about it. Fantastic.
That should have been our moment in the Gold Medal game and we will not apologize for being victimized. We’re not sorry and we’re not going to waste your time thinking that we are.
Yeah, maybe the comments they made were a bit excessive. I mean, sure, I doubt the Norwegian ref actually owns and wears a USA Soccer jersey. Norwegians are huge footy fans, but that seems to be an excessive collector’s purchase, even by the most ludicrous Pokemon ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ standards. Why on earth would she have that?
Even if we accept that the comments were over the top, it’s refreshing to see athletes come out, be critical of someone who deserved to be criticized and not back down after the fact. Is there anything more patronizing in sport than when someone will criticize person X for doing Y and then hold a press conference to proclaim their sorrow over completely candid and forthright remarks? I say no and if you disagree you’re probably wrong on this one.
It’s not genuine and it insults our collective intelligence.
This, however, was entirely genuine. They were furious, they were honest about their fury and they’re not going to correct what they felt at that time because it’s the truth.
If we’re going to get anywhere as a society that plays and watches sports, why keep protecting officials? The all-powerful mystique only yields problems. If players are to be held accountable, officials need to be held accountable because both are equally prone to screwing up. Officiating is a difficult and largely thankless job, but you’re not infallible and pointing that out when it’s true shouldn’t be an offense.
Canada called it like it is and they’re not backing down which is something we can all appreciate on a fundamental level whether you take their side in this instance or not.
Next time the coach of your team in any sport drops a ‘no comment’ on the reffing when it decides a crucial game, tell me you wouldn’t love some of that Sinclair-Tancredi candor, because that’s exactly what you want.
Christine Sinclair has nothing to apologize for because she did the right thing. She spoke her mind, just like Tancredi did, and they were right about what they felt, and they were right about what happened. To say they regret what they said would mean they regret what they felt and you can’t regret feeling ripped off in an excruciatingly close loss. It happens.
Never apologize for speaking your mind, Christine, because your mind is right on this one.
Also Christine, I think I love you.