|The Only Thing Worse than Chivas USA's exposé were the defenses provided for it.|
Avenging the Past is a Bad Idea
When the Real Sports piece on the discriminatory practices at Chivas USA aired on Tuesday night, one the most prevalent reactions was anger but not everyone was angry at the club. Former Chivas USA head coach José Luis Sánchez Solá (Chelis) took to Twitter accusing SI's Grant Wahl of racism while other Mexicans cited past discriminatory acts committed by the US as a way of saying the shoe is on the other foot.
It is a very dangerous mentality that is both ignorant and nationalistic.
Let's take the defense for what it's worth. Those that cite the past as a defense for Chivas' obviously illegal actions are playing the victim. As a Latin American, I am well aware of the struggles that Mexican-Americans have gone through most notably the loss of over half of Mexico's land to the US through wars and land purchases, thus there is historical context for which Mexicans can legitimately say they have been the victims of US imperialism. However, Mexicans are guilty of their own repressive acts.
The discrimination towards Central Americans in Mexico has increased over the last generation especially with the rise in gang warfare throughout the region. One example that hides in plain sight is the lack of Central Americans in Mexican leagues. None of the five Central American teams participating in this year's Gold Cup have players based in Mexico. In 2011, an 'on-year', there were only three (Blas Perez, Felipe Baloy and Carlo Costly).
The easy response is that Central American players just are not good enough for the Mexican leagues. It is a response that is impossible to quantify. There are a number of Central American players that have not had successful careers in Mexico but that does not provide any basis for the lack of interest in Central American players.
This does not just exist on the senior level but on the youth level as well. Of the last three CONCACAF U-20 Championships, only one Central American player played in Mexico. Conversely there were ten Central Americans playing in the US during those tournaments. Consider the development deals like the one DC United has with the FESA Academy where members of that academy are allowed to train with DC United and DC is able to sign any players that interest them. It is a sign of clear interest in Central American players from teams in the US, something that cannot be said about Mexican teams.
Trying to persist with the 'shoe on the other foot' defense also brings out the worst of nationalist mentalities. The ill-will harbored to the US was manifested when a Mexican columnist tweeted about how ironic it was for gringos to claim discrimination. It was the same ideas that Chelis reflected in his Twitter outburst and in the tweets he endorsed.
It is angering that there are those who let pride get in the way of making rational arguments. Especially so when it is a public figure like Chelis is. The rational argument is that two coaches were fired for what they allege to be discrimination based on national origin by an organization who was revealed by HBO to have committed discriminatory actions. Trying to make conspiracy theories based on race or nationalism is pathetic.
DC United Tries Again
|Renderings for the new DC United Stadium|
DC has struggled with various stadium proposals since its inception in 1996. During that time, RFK Stadium has continued to deteriorate. Although it has provided great soccer atmospheres in the past, it became clear that RFK was no longer a must-go-to site for US Soccer when it was not selected for a World Cup Qualifier. There are both football sized stadiums (CenturyLink Field) and soccer specific stadiums (Columbus, Kansas City) that provide enough of an atmosphere for the USMNT to thrive in.
That being said, the DC region is and always will be a vital region for US soccer to play in. Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium got a shot at hosting regional games during the Gold Cup and it will be interesting to see if US Soccer, Soccer United Marketing and/or Traffic Sports were pleased enough to consider playing there again. It is a new option for a region whose previous two options (RFK and FedEx Field) have significant flaws.
If this new stadium at Buzzard's Point gets built then the DC area will continue to host major US games for the foreseeable future and allow DC United to attract new fans and players. It's a simple conclusion to a long complicated process.
ONE GOAL Contributor
Christian Araos (@Christian_Araos)