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How do you say "sportsmanship" in French?

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So French legend Zinedine Zidane, arguably the greatest soccer player of the last two decades, has been THE TOPIC of discussion in the greater sports world since last Sunday. The French are taking it all in stride even putting up a blog Materazzi, "un blog cathartique" (HT Martini Republic) to make light of what took place in the Final last Sunday.

Of course, a lot of us Americans on this side of the pond found it too easy and convenient to pile on a French star, simply because it was once trendy to pile on the French (back when a lot of people had you believe there were WMDs in Iraq just kind of like how some Trojan apologists want to make you believe they run a clean program). Anyways, I wanted to talk a little bit about sportsmanship (and gamesmanship) related to Zidane. Here is Zidane's explanation of what happened followed by (what seems to be sincere) apology to all his fans (specially children) for what happened in Berlin last Sunday:

PARIS, July 12 -- French soccer star Zinedine Zidane said Wednesday he rammed his head into the chest of an Italian player in the final minutes of the World Cup championship game because his opponent made "very harsh" insults to his mother and sister.

Zidane said he did not regret head-butting Marco Materazzi because of the rude remarks he said the Italian hurled at him. But he expressed remorse to the "millions of children" who witnessed the incident.

"I apologize to all the children," Zidane, a French national hero, said in an interview on France's Canal Plus television channel, his first public comments since Sunday's World Cup final that was won by Italy. "Because I have kids and I know what it is. I'll always tell them not to let people step on their toes, but also to avoid this kind of thing."
Ok. That seems fair enough.

Let's make it clear I am not saying Zidane has an excuse. What he did to Materazzi was totally uncalled for. A great athlete like him should not have lost his cool in the grandest stage of the most popular sport in the world, no matter what kind of gamesmanship the crafty Italians were engaging in.

All that said Zidane's apology is classy. He showed lot more class than American athletes such as a prick like Christian Leittner who never got chided for stepping on a Kentucky player lying on the floor (deliberately with a smile on his face), in one of the most celebrated college basketball games in March Madness's history. And of course Zidane has lot more class than Matt Leinart, probably the most celebrated quarterback from the ghetto school across town, who sounded like a pompous, conceited, classless asshole after his team choked against Texas last year at the Rose Bowl.

Well Leinart is not the first pompous, conceited, classless Trojan asshole quarterback. I am sure many of you remember this immortal image from the 1990 UCLA-USC game at the Rose Bowl. Here was Trojan QB Todd Marijuanavich giving Bruin safety Matt Darby the birdie, after Darby extended his hand to pick his sorry rear end off the field.



Classy. Real classy Trojans. Of course, Marijuanavich never had to apologize for that obscene gesture, nor was he called out by any of the football worshipping tools from that campus in South Central.

And you wonder why we think most of these cretins from cross town are bunch of classless, arrogant assholes. So just keep that in mind when you hear any reporters, fans from this side of pond snicker about the French. We have our own baggage of classless losers, all of them who happen to come out from USC.

And yes I rooted for France. Proudly I may add.

Why I bring up that point? Well I saw a Trojan jackass loitering around BruinsNation snickering about rooting for France. But I didn't see anything wrong with cheering for a nation to whom you know we owe just a little gratitude for our tasty barbecue and beers on July 4th. Just to refresh here is a quick primer on French General Marquis de Lafayette:
Lafayette was the first Frenchman to come to the aid of the American revolutionary cause. When he was only 19 years old, he left France for America. He left his very wealthy, upper-class family for two reasons: Lafayette wanted to help the Americans and he wanted to gain military fame and glory. Although the official Franco-American alliance had been established in 1776, a year before Lafayette came to America, he offered his help to America independently; the French government had not sent him. The United States Congress commissioned Lafayette a major general of the Continental Army on July 31, 1777. He gained considerable fame for his excellent leadership of his troops. In the summer of 1781 Cornwallis had pushed Lafayette's troops out of Richmond. Then the British general Sir Henry Clinton ordered Cornwallis to take up a position in Yorktown. It was Lafayette who followed him there, discovered his vulnerable position, and sent word to Gen. Washington. Lafayette then joined Washington and Rochambeau in the final attack on the British at Yorktown. What makes Lafayette's story so remarkable is that he chose to risk his life to fight a war which would not have impacted his life in France.
There is a reason why General Marquis de Lafayette's portrait is the only portrait besides General George Washington to be prominently displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives of the United States.

Oh and it's July 14th. Happy Bastille Day everyone.

Break out a glass of Cabernet sauvignon to go with that All American steak and French fries tonight. It is all good. ;-)

ALLEZ LES BRUINS.