When is a thug not a thug? -- and other issues

According to this BBC report, former French football star Zinedine Zidane is in the news again. Six years after committing an act of thuggery in the 2006 World Cup Final (which you can watch on YouTube here), his headbutt against Italian footballer Marco Materazzi has been turned into a statue, five metres (16 feet) high, which is now on display outside the lovely Pompidou Centre, Paris.

The IPKat is none too happy about this.  He wonders about the following issues
  • Did Marco Materazzi have a right to object to a statue being made of his image (i) at all and (ii) in this pose, which is certainly does him no credit (Zidane's excuse for this assault was that Materazzi had cast aspersions as to Zidane's sister's virtue -- as if (i) two wrongs make a right and/or (ii) footballers only ever address each other in the most polite manner imaginable on the football field and never, ever, wind each other up);
  • Is Materazzi entitled to a share of any profit which may be derived from the commercial exploitation of his image through the sale of postcards, replicas, t-shirts etc?
  • While it would be impossible to blot out any record of this very public incident, which was watched, according to Fifa, by more than a billion TV spectators worldwide, might Materazzi maintain that the time has come to drop this level of high-level attention to this incident -- in which he was, after all, the victim;
  • Would the answers to these questions be the same if the incident in question was not one footballer committing a criminal assault on another but, for example, the either consensual or non-consensual activity that took place in a hotel room in the Sofitel New York between Nafissatou Diallo and Dominique Strauss-Kahn which, though not watched by an audience of billions, pretty well saturated the world's media for several days?
Merpel isn't happy about the sculpture for another reason, which is that it appears to glorify the commission of acts of violence by sportsmen and make them look like heroes rather than pathetic individuals who lack both self-control and self-respect.
When is a thug not a thug? -- and other issues When is a thug not a thug? -- and other issues Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, October 26, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. Merpel will be very, very cross with me, but my only comment is that Materazzi deserved it.

  2. Paul: Merpel does indeed disagree, but you will be pleased to know that she does not propose to retaliate.

  3. To repeat what I often find myself saying, "This is the world we live in, I am afraid".

    So in response: Next to come will be a series trade mark application at the IPO for the action of headbutting an opponent in sport? Go on, someone have a punt on getting it through!

  4. Materazzi might of course be persuaded to register his name and likeness under the new regime for the protection of images in Guernsey ... http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b2ae43246dcd7aa76d7fe00d9&id=99b45c6797&e=eb222a34df


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