6.29.2007

Fred Loves Jesus, MLS Could Go Either Way



So let's talk about hypocrisy for one second. I'm not in the business of bashing MLS nor am I prone to outbursts of religious zealotry. And I am definitely not fond of mixing the game with spirituality. But for the life of me I can’t see how a league with multiple teams pushing "Faith and Family" nights (i.e. bring your church group and we will create a Christian-tinged experience for you at the game) and actively promotes itself as wholesome family entertainment is justified in issuing a yellow card to a player for lifting his shirt to reveal the message pictured above.

And to be clear, I'm not saying this to endorse the statement. There is a little read document called the Constitution that lays out all this stuff about America and free speech and yadda yadda yadda. Dude could be wearing a KKK shirt (which I don't advise or condone) or a Nation of Islam shirt (which I also don't advise or condone) under his kit and we should be ok with that; not the message, but his right to display it.

But regardless of what my alleged liberal ass thinks, the ref called Fred for excessive celebration for lifting his shirt. If that's the FIFA rule and not a league rule (as has been pointed out to me) so be it. But Clint Dempsey can feign hitting home runs, perform every move from Dance Dance Dance Revolution, and roll around on the ground as if he is on fire, but no one can lift their shirt? If this rule is to stand I would advise all players to have their slogans, endorsements, and messages for the masses tattooed on their legs, forearms, and foreheads post-haste. And do it in Olde English lettering as it makes you look like really, really hard.

10 comments:

CrazyTrojan said...

Too bad soccer in America is governed by FIFA rather than the Constitution, and FIFA’s “Laws of the Game” explicitly reads, “A player who removes his jersey when celebrating a goal must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour.” I believe pulling your jersey over your head is interpreted as such.

interloper said...

I always thought the rule regarding cards for shirt removal (including just to flash skin rather than message) was something dictated by FIFA and so can't be altered by the league, even if it wanted to. I agree though that it's a silly rule.

Oh and just as a quick aside, the First Amendment only protects you from the government interfering with free speech.

Anonymous said...

I'm liberal and pro-free speech. However, I don't think the league should tolerate certain messages (for example the KKK). That could be very harmful to the league.

I also do not believe this is Constitutionally protected expression. The league is a private entity and it is hosting a private event. If fans rolled out a KKK banner, the league has the right to eject them from the stadium. Actually, the league has the right to boot someone from the stadium for any reason or no reason. Look at the back of any concert or sporting ticket (heck probably museum tickets too) - they all say 'revocable license'. Legally, that means you have the right to use the ticket, but only so long as they want to let you do so.

Because the league doesn't have to allow expressive messages, and because some expressive messages should be disallowed, the best approach is to allow no expressive messages at all. A 'normal' soccer celebration generally does not express a message. I assume you would agree it would be okay to yellow card someone who chooses to flip off the crowd as a celebration (that is an expressive message). You do not want to put the refs in the position of choosing between expressive messages - cleanest way is a blanket rule.

Also, it would be against the league's interest and contrary to uniform rules for a player to have an advertisement under there. The tatoo question is an interesting one, but I would say if it has a clear expressive message then it should have to be covered.

SF said...

Noted, but since when has MLS ever shied away from going against the grain in regard to FIFA?

CrazyTrojan said...

I read a bit further in the Laws. Interestingly, according to FIFA's guidance for referees, it would not have warranted a caution if Fred had flashed his message by only lifting his shirt to the neck rather than over his head!

SF said...

Yet another reason why kits should have zippers down the front!

Anonymous said...

This is dealt with in the USSF 2007 Memorandum on the IFAB changes to the Laws of the Game, the text of which can be found here: http://ussoccer-referees.blogspot.com/2007_05_27_archive.html.

Make of it what you will, but it is definately not MLS behind it.

Generic Viagra said...

That sounds so good that Fred loves Jesus because God is the best inspiration player can get, when I'm playing he's my power in order to play excellent. Buy Viagra Generic Viagra

viagra online said...

This is an excellent athlete, I've followed his career and his a fighter, and best thing is that he believe in the supernatural powers.

muebles madrid said...

This can't truly have success, I feel this way.