At the risk of sounding like an ad, yesterday preorders went online for the Nike-contrived 2014 home Korean National team jersey -at least in the US – likely worldwide as well? Nike released this promo featuring World Cup bound Ki Sung-Yeung.
I’m wondering -while the Tavern has resisted online ads – would we dare enter a new realm and allow for a portal for Tavern goers to purchase the KNT jersey? TBD…
The away jersey hasn’t been released yet, we’ll keep you posted…
Meanwhile the Tavern’s thoughts are not only on the upcoming friendly with Greece tomorrow, but on the fast moving events happening worldwide. I have to ask: what were the Olympic committee and FIFA smoking when they thought it would be a good idea to grant a dictatorial thug in the form of Putin the honor of hosting the Winter Sochi “Pussy Riot” Olympics and the 2018 World Cup? Both FIFA and members of the Olympic committee could certainly afford their crack of choice with what we can presume was an extraordinary amount of under the table bribes to buy the rights to host both events. I say this in light of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine this past week -it has the potential to undo the “Maidan” people-powered revolution that got rid of their corrupt autocratic ruler. The audacity of this invasion is staggering, mere days after the closing Olympic ceremony in Sochi –a sporting event dedicated to world peace. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel remarked that Putin has lost touch with reality. Par for the course with megalomanic unchecked power.
So…what’s FIFA to do now? If the corruption-riddled body of FIFA has any iota of integrity and credibility left – they could move right away to remove Russia the right to host the World Cup – that is unless Russia (rather Putin) were to respect the sovereignty of the Ukraine – thus restoring some stability back in Europe. That action alone could -though not necessarily will – make Putin think twice before losing a potential propaganda tool to keep propping up the illusion that life is good in autocratic post-Soviet Russia. The World Cup is…well, the World Cup. It has a force of power and momentum of it’s own, both positively and negatively. It has the single largest viewership on the planet – and with it the perceived prestige of the event. Putin, as a former head of the KGB, understands perceptions in order to maintain control. Back to the here and now -on the ground in Russia, the narrative has of course been completely manipulated by state controlled media – giving Russians incorrect context and facts to the invasion. Putin does not care about his image with world leaders and worldwide condemnation in the face of this egregious invasion (reminds me of a past US president). His hold on power relies on a careful orchestration that could unravel by a number of factors. How ordinary Russians would perceive him for the consequences of worldwide consternation – if it results in the loss of hosting this ‘holiest of holy’ sporting event – now that’s something that will grab Putin’s attention. Admittedly it’s an unorthodox approach to solving this fluid and explosive situation – but it’s worth a look and it’s something within FIFA’s domain.
We’ve been very politically wonky this morning – so why not a little more? Jim Yong Kim, -born in Seoul before his parents immigrated to Iowa, he is the former president of Dartmouth college and current president of the World Bank. He wrote in the Washington Post op/ed section last Friday and gave a stirring personal and cogent argument for why anti-gay laws are not only discriminatory, they don’t make business sense. Here’s a portion of his piece:
“Growing up in Iowa, I was often judged solely on appearance. In stores, strangers would make karate-chop gestures at me, inspired by the popular TV series “Kung Fu.” When I played quarterback for my high school team, opponents were not above slamming me to the dirt and then piling on racial slurs.
These incidents embarrassed me and made me self-conscious. But they are trifling indignities compared with the discrimination that many people around the world face based solely on their sex, age, race or sexual orientation.
I raise this in light of the law Uganda enacted this week, which could imprison for life those convicted of homosexuality, and the increased violence against gays in Nigeria after an anti-gay law took effect there this year.
These countries are in the news now, but our focus should be much broader: 81 other countries — in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East — have passed laws that make homosexuality illegal. In the United States, although Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill this week that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gay people, nine states have laws that limit how public school teachers can talk about homosexuality. More than 100 countries discriminate against women. And an even greater number of countries still have laws that discriminate against minority groups.
Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and for societies. Widespread discrimination is also bad for economies.There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer…”
The Tavern owner asks (rhetorically): presumably there are athletes in Korea who are (or were) not open about their sexuality to avoid discrimination – have they been diminished in their potential to represent Korea on the world stage?
In a separate but related question, has racism in a general sense prevented some quality Asian players from successfully integrating with their respective European club teams, and as a result, diminished their time on the pitch?
Not to open a can of worms, but culture / language / racism or perceived racism is something that all international players, Asian or not, have to contend with. To what degree it affects players on the pitch – both now and in the past? Open questions to which I do not know…
In the US, Michael Sam made headlines recently for being the first openly gay American footballer to be potentially drafted in the NFL. It comes as no surprise then that ultra conservative lobbyists have seized Sam’s announcement to draft legislation forbidding the NFL from drafting gay players. Likely such attempts will not go anywhere in committee, but the battle against discrimination continues…
Lastly – a relatively new international football blog WE GLOBAL FOOTBALL has tagged us, the Tavern, as their representative for the Taeguk Warriors on their site. Super! We are linking with them as they are continuing to meticulously highlight blogs representing different national teams. Their emphasis is on a unique international ranking system and algorithm.
They twittered to us yesterday: “We Global Football was made in an effort to provide a new alternative to FIFA ranks. We take more of a statistical approach. WGF has morphed into a huge database. We provide predictions for each match based on our rankings and will write pieces on any tournament, large or small. By accumulating a list of blogs, we wish to redirect people looking for more in-depth coverage of the nation they are looking for. They certainly aren’t limited to just WC participants. We hope to have as many countries represented as possible!”
Dope! They have an illustrator who is at this very moment, working on an individualized crest for the South Korean team. And just a moment ago they gave a shout to Jae for his excellent preview for the Greece friendly:
— We Global Football (@We_Global) March 4, 2014