Zlatan Ibrahimovic Award for Vanity

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I am sure if you follow soccer, however casually, you will have come across this name. Or maybe you know him as “Ibra” or just “Zlatan”. It really doesn’t matter because none of them describe the sexist asshat he revealed himself to be today.

Read this article from ‘the guardian’ US edition: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/dec/26/zlatan-ibrahimovic-branded-boring-sad-womens-football-remarks?CMP=twt_gu
I’ll wait…

Lovely stance for Sweden Men’s National Team Captain to take in regards to his counterparts on the Sweden Women’s National Team, right?
Probably never crossed his mind to say something tactful and still get his point across that men’s and women’s teams are not on the same footing, financially or in terms of exposure. It probably never crossed his mind because why should it? Does it benefit him in the least to throw the women’s game a bone? Absolutely not. His contemporaries (many, but not all) share his views. He’s just saying what they think and are smart enough not to say. Does it make it right ? Absolutely not. Will Sweden’s governing body make him apologize? I doubt it. Should Sweden’s WNT coach have to defend the skill, dedication and sacrifice her players make? No.

Everyone knows the men’s and women’s game do not share the same popularity or pay scale. They do not share the same fan base or longevity, the same support or exposure.

What Ibrahimovic seems to forget or fails to recognize is that all the things Anders Svensson has done to realize his 143 caps for country, Therese Sjogran has done to realize her 187 caps.  And all with less pay, support or exposure than Svensson. What Ibrahimovic doesn’t want to concede is that while he has achieved much in his career, he has had distinct advantages over players he has been asked about, like Lotta Schelin.
Are they on par if they go head to head, certainly not, and I seriously doubt the interviewer meant the question that way. But are they on par in their respective teams? I think most would agree, yes. They are both talented players who represent their countries in a successful manner, although one with much more grace.

My point, I guess, is not to point out the inequities, we all know them by now. My point is that even though he is a self-centered, sexist, asshat, there is no reason that he shouldn’t be made to see how destructive his comments are, that he shouldn’t be made to apologize, that he shouldn’t have to relinquish his leadership role until he’s had some time to re-think his words. He is absolutely entitled to think whatever he likes, but if he is to be the face and leader of the Sweden MNT, he owes the Sweden WNT an apology and to make amends. He owes it to them and to the sport he represents.


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