Why I can’t hate Iran’s soccer team

Let’s pretend I am going to watch soccer football Tuesday at 2. 

Unlike people in the stadium, I can uncork a cold one, while I laugh at whatever Budweiser paid for sponsorship.

Naturally, I root for Team U.S.A. — always.

But I don’t hate the opposing team, usually.

Today’s opponent is Iran, easy to hate. I shouldn’t hate a country that has a weekly “Death to America” street carnival, that subjugates women, that has a death wish for Israel, that held American diplomats hostage, and so on?

But here’s the catch.

Before an earlier game, the Iranian soccer football team did not sing the national anthem, in solidarity with protesters back home — led by women — demanding freedom.

The team was threatened, according to reports, and was warned to show fealty to the rigid Islamic regime. And these aren’t empty threats. 

So, I admire the Iranian athletes who made their statement.

I won’t hate them: or the Iranian people, most of whom are Western oriented and who want freedom.

I won’t root for them on the soccer football pitch, but I will root for them in their fight against the ayatollahs.

12 thoughts on “Why I can’t hate Iran’s soccer team”

  1. Good point Stu, I’m not sure how many Americans know of this episode. Those Iranian football players were pretty courageous, and we should admire them for it. Not enough to win, but enough to give them our respect.

  2. Great column. I usually do not agree with you 100%, but this time I do. Who’s getting soft, you or me?

    News travels a little slow out here in Chester County. Who Won ?
    It is always amazing to take notice as to how our media follows and reports the news of these united states as well as that of the rest of the world.
    EYEran should not be permitted to govern itself. Thanks joey. There was a time – before the ayatollahs – that Iran was very much a proud nation and full of western culture. That’s all gone. We know what we have now.
    As for the sport of football ( soccer ). Pick a reason why most Americans don’t like it. Too slow, no scoring, too long, penalty kicks breaking a tie. It has often been said that Americans have too many choices for sports. Most counties with out U.S. interference, have one for sure, maybe two. Our players are going to chase the big bucks period.

    1. You can blame evangelical religion (Islam in this case) for what happened in Iran. See any parallels nearby? I do.

      1. f
        ‘ya did it again!’. You of the moe, larry and curly club said that you wouldn’t be writing ( talking ) to me. To bad you all didn’t promise. You three make political candidates look good.
        that would be radical, as in radical islamic terrorist !
        The Muslims that I know, who came from the Mid East are true believers of a peaceful religion. They disprize the radicals more than us non believers.

  4. I stumbled upon the Philadelphia Union of the USSL during the pandemic. I watched them make it to the championship game against another great team, LAFC, the same day the Phillies lost that 6th game against the Astros. They lost too, in what some were saying was the best USSL Championship game since its first, 2008. I’ve become a genuine soccer/ football fan. The US team plays The Netherlands on Tuesday after winning 1-0 against Iran. Once I understood a few fundamentals and strategies and someone to root for I was hooked. The things these players do with their feet and head is unbelievable.
    Then there’s the shear stamina! After The World Cup I recommend those interested, catch up with the USSL. Even you Tony. 😁

      I played both indoor and outdoor. I coached my youngest son. I officiated. My one cousin played for the Atoms where most of the teams were manned by soccer super stars, now in their twilight years.
      The men’s team and league can not compete on the world pitch.
      The women’s team was way ahead of the rest of the world for a few years. The founding team looked like a well oiled machine. They had years of playing time together as they were bearing children. ( SARCASM ) I wonder why the women never were into diving and acting?
      In yesterday’ s game, our men showed that they had skills but were lacking cohesiveness that only comes playing together.
      You don’t try a’high skill’ penalty shot with someone just learning that shot. Inside 25 yards is almost impossible to score from a penalty kick.
      Let’s see if we can mount a strong offensive team against a strong defensive Netherland.

      1. Tony,
        GOL-LEE Sargent Carter I had no idea you played or coached. I had forgotten about the Atoms. I didn’t follow them, but I had a license plate with seven Philly professional teams on it that was stolen off my car. Dumb of me. Like I said I’m in the early stages of learning, but I like. You gotta fill me in sometime on the rules; like off-sides.
        Next game Saturday. I think they will lose. I believe Brazil is the Favorite.

        1. Tom,
          Soccer always was big in Philly. Duh ! we were loaded with Europeans, now South Americans. The men’s league in Jersey, was much like that of Philly. Basically national teams. My team in Jersey was ‘mongrels’. All Americans. We had consistent records every year we played. Lost, loose & lost.
          Indoor was usually guys from the same neighborhood. We played up near Franklin Mills. I played net. The guys used to say, “put Tony in net and it’s like watching a wild dog go after a piece of raw meat “!

  5. Soccer: hours of boredom interrupted by more hours of boredom.

    The Iranian players were bold and deserve our praise. Man’s desire to be free is unstoppable.

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