Earlier today English and Arsenal footballer Jack Wilshere and English cricketer Kevin Pietersen got into a Twitter spat about some comments Wilshere made in a press conference about how the English national football team should be for English atheletes only. Comments that were later completely overblown by the English media (shocker).
Everyone who has read this blog knows how I feel about this particular topic: international sport is a farce and nothing more than an exercise in obsolete nationalism. It’s 20th century flag-waving bullshit and nothing more. The world has moved on, but sport for whatever reason (cough…$$$$…cough) has not. And this little spat between Wilshere and Pietersen just further proves my point: Pietersen – a South African by birth but who plays for England’s national cricket team – is angry at an English footballer for saying that a Belgian/English/Albanian footballer shouldn’t be considered for England because he isn’t English enough. Or something.
So while I agree in the end with KP, it just goes to show what a circus international sport has become. If it wasn’t a circus and a farce, KP would be in the UAE preparing to play Pakistan and Wilshere wouldn’t have even been asked about Adnan Januzaj in the first place because of course he could never play for England – and if Jack did say something like “the English national football team should only select English players” it would be like him saying “the sky is blue“.
A circus. Through and through. It is time for sport to move out of the 20th century. Athletes like Mo Farah – who was born in Somalia but trains in Oregon and competes for the United Kingdom and whose favorite football team is Arsenal, a team owned by an American but based in north London and whose manager is French and whose best player is a German national of Turkish descent – athletes like Mo, and teams like Arsenal, are the future of sport. They will define sport in the 21st century. Borders are meaningless now. And sport needs to stop clinging to them.
My friend Tim over at 7amkickoff said it way better and also reminded us that we should ignore the wicketkeeper’s sledging and try to keep our eye on the ball:
I find it highly troubling that Qatar has been accused of using slave labor and of killing their migrant workers to build the stadiums which will host the World Cup and people are up in arms about whether Januzaj is going to corrupt the sanctity of the English national team.