Friday, June 18, 2010

Speak Up: FIFA, Koman Coulibaly

Two weeks ago, MLB umpire Jim Joyce butchered a crucial call in the 9th inning which would have been/should have been the final out of a perfect game by a young pitcher.  Joyce quickly apologized, admitting that he butchered the call, and felt horrible about impacting pitcher Armando Galaragga's chance to put his name in the record books.  Joyce apologized both to Galaragga privately, and spoke up in the media.  Guess what - once you admit that you screwed up, there's not much more people can say.  "Hey Joyce, you really blew that call,"  "Yes - I did. I agree. I'm sorry."  End of discussion.

In the wake of one of the most blatant blown calls in recent World Cup history, (USA - Slovenia, 85th minute) referee Koman Coulibaly owes the soccer world an explanation.   He doesn't have to bow down, cry, admit he screwed up, or even apologize (although it certainly never hurts to admit you were wrong) - but he does owe it to the soccer world to at least explain what foul he called - what he saw!

""We asked the referee many times, and he wouldn't or couldn't explain," said striker Landon Donovan, whose goal in the 48th minute from the right wing broke the U.S.'s drought. "I don't know how much English he spoke. We asked him numerous times in a non-confrontational manner, and he just ignored us or didn't understand us.""   

I read elsewhere that US defender Carlos Bocanegra confirmed that the ref spoke ample French and English.

ESPN's article concludes:

"Coulibaly isn't commenting on the disallowed goal -- at least that's what FIFA told a U.S. soccer spokesperson -- so in addition to an injustice, the scent of unaccountability also lingers."

Coulibaly, at minimum, should explain the foul that he called.


David Merkel said...

The US has a culture that understands the concept of apology, and encourages it. Not every culture does that; I can't speak to the culture that Koman Coulibaly comes from, which I believe is Mali.

Anonymous said...

This could galvanize team usa. Put a little chip on their shoulder..

Anonymous said...

KD & DM: This is typical FIFA. Blatter won't even criticize the vuvuzelas for fear of offending the host continent. Mali customs needn't be referenced here. This is pure Europe here.

BTW, I'm pretty effing stoked to be talking soccer with two of my favorite reads on econ/fin. Cheers.

getyourselfconnected said...

Wow, corruption and the fix is in, never seen that before!

I think is was the early game but on one shot the goalie pulled his head away from the ball and a score was made. I thought goalies fought to the death!

wcw said...

Yeah, well, there's also this view, as well as the argument that it was a makeup call for several earlier bad calls that pointed the other way, including notably the one that led to the free kick in the first place.

FD: my mother's father was from Ljubljana.

keithpiccirillo said...

You need to understand that even at the highest levels of officiating, a referee can get caught up in the moment and have an inadvertent whistle.
I referee hs basketball and we call what we see, not what we don't see, but with the scrum that goes on sometimes refs can be too anticipatory.
I don't think was any Gladwellian cultural issue at play here.
If you want to move on just win baby.

Anonymous said...

@DM- US may understand the culture of apology but they seldom advance one when it is highly required. You make a sweeping statement about a culture based on one example, here are two from your culture. G W Bush never said sorry for attacking Iraq on the basis of wrong intelligence on WMDs. And Greenspan never apologised when his policies were partly responsible for the biggest disaster in the financial markets.