On Monday, we lost a soccer game to the States. It sucked. One of the American goals can be directly attributed to two calls made by the referee in the match.
This post isn’t about the calls or ref bias or whether that cost us the game. (For reference, IMO, Cruddy, within the ref’s discretion and displayed no bias, it was a tying goal not the whole game).
After the game the media asked the Canadian captain, Christine Sinclair, “How do you feel about the loss? Did you have an problem with the ref”ing? Did you agree with the calls? ” Sinclair had just lost the opportunity for a gold or silver medal. She was devastated. She obviously has a bias about the calls – there is no way for her to be objective.
She answered that she didn’t think the calls were fair. It was an honest, but not media savvy answer.
The next night, the main CTV anchor, Brian Williams, was going over the issue with his soccer expert. FIFA has since announced that they were investigating Canada for occurrences after the match – the assumption was investigating Sinclair for unsportsmanlike conduct for her comments. He pushed the commentator to state that FIFA was biased against Canada because the only reason for announcing the investigation was to erode Canada’s ability to focus on the next game.
OK. Here’s what I didn’t like. First, post-game interviews with athletes after a loss. “How do you feel? What will you do next?” These are horrible questions. First, before the event the athlete isn’t thinking about what they will do if they lose – that is negative thinking. Second, they feel crappy. Beyond their ability to put into words. The question seems more likely to try and draw tears than get a useful quote. Third, planning their future life five minutes after the loss is likely not their focus either.
In this specific instance, the media actively pursued getting Sinclair to say something controversial. They pushed. In a highly emotional state, I’m not surprised that Sinclair made some unwise remarks. But she showed more control than I would have. If FIFA ever does fine anyone it should be CTV.
Finally, after the fact, CTV looked to be actively trying to create more controversy in an already controversial situation. FIFA may be dividing the team’s efforts, but so was CTV in continuing the discussion.
Their behaviour during almost all our losses in other events has been similar and unpalatable.
I liked Simon Whitfield’s response to the “future plans” question after his loss. “I’m going on a dinner date with my wife tonight. And tomorrow a date in the park.” Good answer to a bad question.