I’ll admit to being appalled and outraged when I watched Zinedine Zidane’s seemingly out-of-the-blue head-butt of Marco Materazzi in the World Cup Final.
Now that I see what Materazzi has admitted saying to provoke it (and maybe what he really said was even worse), my sympathies have slid in the other direction.
“We both spoke and I wasn’t the first. I held his shirt but don’t you think it is a provocation to say that ‘if you want my shirt I will give it you afterwards’?
Maybe it’s a cultural difference, but: not really.
“I replied to Zidane that I would prefer his sister, that is true. I brought up his sister and that wasn’t a nice thing, that is true,” said Materazzi.
Yes. That is true, to put it as mildly as possible.
Of course Zidane should have kept his cool. And he deserved the red card. But Materazzi’s disgusting remark came at the end of a grueling, emotional match. How many of us can hold up our hands and swear we wouldn’t have done what Zidane did (or worse) in the same circumstances?