Mitch manages to string together a fairly coherent column today about the Zidane head-butt. We'll give him a break over the lateness of the column because he's a) an American sportswriter b) in Detroit and c) is Mitch Albom.
But, he did catch the most important quote of the controversy to date: Zindane's mother. Her pearl?
"Some things are bigger than football."
She's right, of course. And, despite her obvious bias toward her son, her statement is controversial in itself. Around the world, as Albom points out, we accept that "trash talking" is somehow part of the game, something almost venerated to the same level as the players ability to actually, you know, play.
Which is sad. I both played sports and watched my father play them for years. Was there trash talked? Sure. But the players who did it most were arrogant pricks who, frankly, didn't get a lot of respect. They often stunk up the field, as well. Trash talking was almost exclusively consigned to the realm of the loser, the loud-mouth, foul-crying, whiney bastard who thought you always took the bat with the largest number on the end.
Mitch almost, but not quite, commits to sort of not liking trash talking by way of a huge stretch of an analogy. What he doesn't do, of course, is pin the blame where it belongs; on the worst of the trash talkers. I wonder if that because any of them play in someone's home town? Hmm, that would be an interesting question to ask. Good thing there's a professional sports columnist on the case.