Sepp Blatter is blaming America for things again.
Tuesday was, depending on your level of cynicism, a good day. Maybe even a great day. Sepp Blatter, just four days after spitting on the very idea of justice, stepped down after nearly 18 years heading FIFA. He’ll be in power through December, it seems, while FIFA scrambles to find a replacement. Whether that’s Prince Ali of Jordan, Michel Platini of France or someone else, we won’t know.
For now, revelry. Ruminations, jokes, thoughts and celebrations from around Twitter today. It was a good day.
Sepp Blatter stood at the dais in front of thousands of his FIFA peers, hands firmly affixed to its sides, leaning in toward the crowd as a storm system moved across his watery eyes. He waited about 10 seconds before talking, as if acquiring targets and fixing his missile system.
Blatter did Friday exactly what we expected of him. He groveled, but with a practiced ease that makes pandering and pleading look like selling, like smug moralizing. His speech’s delivery meandered through one brushfire after another without ever touching the flames, without acknowledging that reforms he’d promised to enact the “second” he got back in office had not been touched in 2011, or 2007, or 2003, or 1999.
Sepp Blatter won the FIFA presidential election. Again. A fifth term. Sometimes justice doesn’t win.
The photo was one of those beautiful moments of convergence between things we know and things we suspected were true. A white sheet stretched across a road, indicted FIFA officials hurriedly scurrying behind it to escape the harsh glare of a public that suspected but couldn’t prove their guilt for years.
A simple sheet. But so much more.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 27, 2015
On Wednesday, 14 were indicted for various charges of corruption, seven of whom were arrested in Zurich as the biggest names involved. So far, anyway. These are those seven.
Wednesday was a bombshell without parallel in the history of FIFA. These men are the ring wraiths themselves, jealously driven by power and greed until it put them into a waking grave. Amazingly, Sauron himself is not joining them. Yet, anyway. For now, Sepp Blatter is above reproach.
Over the weekend, John Oliver said some tremendously funny things about Sepp Blatter. You should watch them.
The basis of his quick two-minute diatribe revolved around the impending faux vote for FIFA president Sepp Blatter, which comes up in less than two weeks. Despite his latent sexism, reliance on pseudo-science to claim we are all genetically racist, claims that gays should “refrain from any sexual activities” in Qatar, his intimation that a transfer practice was akin to “modern slavery,” and any other laundry list of depressing factoids, Blatter will almost assuredly be reelected.
This may surprise you. And it should. Just last week, ESPN released a documentary on Blatter that laid bare many of the issues swirling around the man. You can now watch the entire thing on YouTube.
In the wake of Arrigio Sacchi’s recent comments about “too many black players” in Italy, and the despicable actions of a group of racist Chelsea fans (one of which has a ridiculous circa-1990 high top fade), Sepp Blatter found his pants just in time to burst into a conversation nobody asked him to join.
Spin the Blatter wheel: is this article 1.) overtly tone deaf, 2.) subtly racist or 3.) comically over-stated. If you guessed all three, you get to be the new FIFA president. Congratulations.
Sepp Blatter is quickly becoming a caricature of a real person. He says stupid things, like when he indirectly told women’s soccer players to “wear tighter shorts” in 2004. Or calling transfers “modern slavery” in 2008. Or positing that John Terry would’ve been “applauded” in Latin American countries for cheating on his wife with the ex-girlfriend of a teammate in 2010. Or telling gay soccer fans to “refrain from sexual activities” (out loud!) in regards to Qatar 2022. Or the fact that Qatar 2022 is a thing.
So anyway, Blatter is stupid, and it seems he’s getting stupider. This tweet actually happened on Friday.
Everyone in the global football community has a responsibility to act ethically. Football fans rightly demand this. FIFA has taken the lead.
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) September 19, 2014
Everything about this is breathtaking in scope. Everyone has a responsibility to act ethically (except your humble TWEETER EXTRAORDINAIRE). Football fans demand this (which proves he knows what he should be doing and simply isn’t). And, finally, the coup de grace, in bold font, million-point text, bulleted and written on the sky:
“FIFA has taken the lead.”
The pause here is either for you to stop laughing or crying, whichever you’re feeling today.
So anyway, that’s a stupid thing for Blatter to tweet. The only thing FIFA’s taken the lead on is embarrassing, tin ear PR moments and scheduling the next two World Cups in nations with questionable human rights histories. Otherwise, nah.
So as you might suspect, Twitter’s wonderful denizens swept into immediate action with a flurry of responses. They were pretty much all hyperbolic and ridiculous, but so is Blatter. So it fits. Here are my favorites. I’m not advocating for all these tweets, but, you know, the lulz are strong with these. And, of course, we start with a Hitler reference.
In 1999, the NFL adopted coaching challenges. With the outcry over glaring missed calls soaring into the red, the league gave coaches the opportunity to challenge two close calls every game (this was expanded to a conditional third in 2004). The move has been roundly praised, but it should be noted that, as with all change in sport, a handful of the old guard were resistant.
Hoo boy. This will not end well.
On Monday, England’s Telegraph ran with the scoop of the decade: former FIFA vice president Jack Warner may have accepted $1.2 million from a company controlled by a former Qatari soccer official just after the nation won its bid for the 2022 World Cup. That video is not a tacit admission that Warner is guilty, but how ironic is it that he’s walking into a local Trinidadian newspaper office as he’s harangued by a newspaper about impermissible benefits?
Watch that video and tell me what you see.
Sepp Blatter is in Haiti on a much publicized CONCACAF tour, and the Blatter Experience was in full swing. Swaying through rutted dirt streets, shanties leaning over the crowded thoroughfares, Sepp swaggers through with a besuited entourage en route to a ribbon cutting. Stepping over and around the issue but never in it. The FIFA way.