What you don’t apologize for is as important as what you do


In the aftermath of the Zidane head-butt incident, there was a lot of speculation over what Materazzi might have said to provoke Zidane's response.

Zidane has said he attacked Materazzi because he insulted his mother and sister. Materazzi denied disparaging Zidane's mother.

I immediately noticed the very precise denial from Materazzi. (I suspect any parent would recognize the same thing.) And my suspicion was vindicated earlier this week:

Italy's Marco Materazzi said he insulted Zinedine Zidane's sister.

Comments (25)
  1. Zhui (from Beijing - china) says:

    Italians like to provokating other…

    I love Zidane, but I can’t understand why he respond to this provocation.

  2. John Goewert says:

    "Billy hit me!"

    "Billy! Did you hit Tommy?"

    "No! I did not hit Tommy."

    "Tommy, Billy says you are lieing!"

    "Nuh-uh. He hit me with his feet."

    "Billy, did you kick Tommy?"

    "Yes."

    Children and politicians, always mincing words….. and sports stars it seems as well now.

  3. Xan says:

    > Italians like to provokating other…

    A danish player insults heavily an italian. The italian responds spitting. Italian sent out, criticized all over the world and no actions against the danish.

    Then an italian insults a french. The french responds with an headbutt (!). Again the italian is to blame.

    Doesn’t sound fair to me. But, you know, I’m only an italian.

  4. At the end of the day it’s a shame Zidane decided to retaliate at ALL. A much better story would have been if Zidane showed a superior attitude and ignored the insult.

  5. Pamela says:

    Zidane’s response was inappropriate, but understandable.  

    When adrenaline is running high, reactions can become a reflex. "I’d like to do your sister" (essentially what Materazzi said) would probably elicit an inappropriate response from a brother even without the additional boost of a highly competitive atmosphere.

  6. Adrian says:

    >> understandable

    !?

    Any man losing his own selfcontrol and going violent for an insult is a danger for society. I hope you don’t meet him when you’re angry at a traffic light.

    The only way this whole story is "understandable" is because of Zidane’s fame which is so much greater than Materazzi’s one (which to be true is quite infamous) that everyone wants to find a way to justify the myth for his actions.

  7. Darren Winsper says:

    "A danish player insults heavily an italian. The italian responds spitting. Italian sent out, criticized all over the world and no actions against the danish.

    Then an italian insults a french. The french responds with an headbutt (!). Again the italian is to blame."

    Perhaps everyone was too fed up watching your team dive so much.

  8. Qian says:

    I don’t know what’s de rigueur in international soccer, but in the NBA or NFL an insult about someone’s sister would be kindergarten-level stuff.  I’d hate to see what Zidane would do if he was subject to trash talking from some real masters of the genre.

  9. pissed off says:

    and who do you think zidane is? some redneck from kentucky who didn’t play with the players from most of the countries in the world? Your NBA and NFL cant compare to the global football.

  10. Matt says:

    My first thought watching that play was that maybe Zidane wanted to be kicked off the field.    Maybe that way he was "dragged off the field"  instead of  leaving voluntarily in his last game?    

    Either way  I think people underestimate how stupid people tend to get when we’re physically exhausted.     Soccer will do that to someone much more then  NFL or NBA where you can easily sub in and out.

  11. Pascal says:

    Even if you’re apologizing for something, rhetorics can still do marvels.

    Zidane said about his head-butt : "I apologize *towards children and people* who watched this."

  12. Cheong says:

    I would also think that it’s understandable.

    Every people have certain "bottomlines" that when other people try to touch it, they’ll simply gone crazy.

    Headbutt is just one of the ways to express immediate anger, and it’s not likely to cause serious injury like fighting with fist…(one usually can’t continually headbutt others… it’s dizzy… :P But with fist you can attack again and again…) so I guess it’s better than normal fighting… er?

    P.S.: Admitted some twisted reasoning above…

  13. asdf says:

    Jack Thompson was right, we must ban violent videogames like Bonk’s Adventure before it’s too late.

  14. WendyHome says:

    Cricket

    I’d like to thank my Mum and apologize for the stains

  15. m padula says:

    I dunno, I think Zidane should have been arrested on the spot. Nevermind the legend…he brought shame on himself, his team, and the entire sport.

    As for calling his sister bad names…eh, maybe next year you can move up to 4th grade ZuZu.

  16. capricorn says:

    "Perhaps everyone was too fed up watching your team dive so much."

    and they were the only team doing that at the world cup ?

  17. David Walker says:

    "and they were the only team doing that at the world cup ?"

    Meaning it was OK for them to do it?

    If your brother jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?  :-)

  18. Jan Oosting says:

    If fair play would have any value in soccer, Materazzi would have been banned long ago from the sport.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HblsV-urHg

  19. Vince P says:

    It’s "understandable" that when a person from a different country mummurs some silly insult during one’s sport’s highest-level match about one’s sister that the person probably doesn’t even know that a proper reaction is to physically assault them and thereby confirming that person’s belief that after having made such an insult that one would be very disturbed and emotional about it.

    Yeah I guess I understand that too, after all, such a emotional violent reaction was to be expected wasn’t it? I’m surprised he didn’t go home and kill his sister in order to defend her honor.

    [Sarcasm throughout]

  20. pUnk says:

    What’s the problem? It’s soccer after all, and he didn’t use his hands.

  21. anonymous coward says:

    I’ve never understood how some people can have so much pride that mere words can actually cause them injury.  What is it about insults that are so hurtful?  Get over it and move on!

  22. Pamela says:

    Understandable does not mean justifiable.

    I understand that atmosphere and emotion have an effect on how a person will react to certain things.  In the case of a sports event, it is not uncommon for that reaction be violent.

    That is not to say I don’t find both Zidane’s and Materazzi’s behaviors to be inappropriate, irresponsible and unquestionably stupid.  I’m thankful they were on a sports field and not in a bar where anything in reach could have become a lethal weapon.

  23. AC2 says:

    "I’ve never understood how some people can have so much pride that mere words can actually cause them injury.  What is it about insults that are so hurtful?  Get over it and move on!"

    You’re a stupid loser who doesn’t have a clue about human nature! ;)

  24. Igor says:

    So… Is his sister hot or what? :))))

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