I have this strong image of Sepp Blatter and Neymar Jr. riding the same paddy wagon on the way to the hoosegow.
I know, I know, innocent until proven, etc. But I cannot control my imagination.
Blatter is being investigated for chicanery within FIFA.
Neymar Jr. is being investigated -- not for diving, but for tax evasion involving his family business.
I picture them in the same van, riding up the river.
(Not sure what river. The Amazon? The Limmat? Never mind, it's an analogy.)
Neymar is antsy, as a first-time offender.
Blatter is stolid, having feared this moment, in his dark 3 AM moments, for many years.
It's like the scene in the classic movie, "The Unforgiven," where the kid is blubbering to Clint that he's never killed anybody before. (Blatter is no Clint, but let it pass.)
"Geez, Mr. Blatter, I never thought it would come to this. I figured, I get away with stuff on the pitch, my family can file what we want on tax forms."
Blatter is silent.
"Plus, Mr. Blatter, we all saw how you guys did it. Millions of dollars to Havelange and his son-in-law. Jack Warner making poor old Nelson Mandela fly all the way to Trinidad to beg for the World Cup. And maybe millions of dollars to Warner for his votes. The FIFA way."
Blatter turns his back, facing the van wall, but Neymar continues.
"Fat Chuckie Blazer in the Trump Tower, two apartments! And you, with the yellow Fair Play banners at every match, getting on TV. You were the role model."
Blatter turns to Neymar and bares his teeth, like Edward G.Robinson or Jimmy Cagney in the last reel.
"Shut up, kid," Blatter growls.
The ride continues up river, silently.
* * *
For the details, please see links from the NY Times:
Juliet Macur's terrific column in the Sunday Times:
The Reuters story on Neymar's tax troubles:
Sam Borden's story on the investigation of Blatter:
Borden's story on another slippery guy, Michel Platini, who double-crossed the U.S. for the 2022 bid:
And for background on FIFA frolics, you might consider my book, "Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer," now out in paperback, with an added chapter on 2014. The dark side would be Blatter and his chums.
9/29/2015 12:42:25 am
When I see Jack Warner seated between two US Marshals on a flight from Port-of-Spain to New York, and Blatter in a Zurich jail cell, I'll know we are finally getting somewhere. Platini should just retire now. Does anyone really believe he waited nine years for all that money FIFA owed him for his "work"? Hey, maybe it was a Christmas bonus! As for Neymar, maybe he got his taxes done by Leo Messi's Dad...
9/29/2015 10:20:29 am
Comment #1 from Northern Italy: John, I had this fantasy of Sepp taking an international flight and having to land suddenly in the US -- like Baryshnikov getting arrested in the Soviet Union in "White Nights." But he is hunkered down in the bunker in Zurich, until....
9/30/2015 05:06:27 pm
I think the only places Sepp can safely go to at this point without fear of being detained for questioning are Russia and Qatar. He definitely won't be passing through the USA anytime soon.
9/29/2015 06:15:05 am
Deja vu all over again. In my youth baseball was the undisputed king of American sports. The National Football League was a laughable pretender. That hasn't been the case for a long while.
9/29/2015 10:27:49 am
Comment No. 2 from SE France:
9/30/2015 05:23:05 pm
It is interesting that interest seems to be shifting to Rugby. association Football was an outgrowth of Rugby in the 1880's because many wanted to eliminate, or at least minimize, the violence.
9/30/2015 08:36:21 pm
10/1/2015 07:51:46 am
Dear Altenir: Is the Olympic stadium in Rio still named for Joao Havelange even after he was banned for life by FIFA? What a cast of characters. George
10/1/2015 11:55:51 am
10/1/2015 05:37:12 pm
I can hardly wait for the American TV network to explain the name of the Olympic stadium.
10/2/2015 07:00:49 am
I can never think of Blatter/Bladder without remembering Robin Williams' performance at the 1994 WC Draw in Las Vegas, and the look on Seppi's face, a look that said all at once, "I don't really quite understand, but I think they're laughing at me. Remind me tomorrow to fire whoever it was who sold on the idea of having this guy as our entertainment."
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.