As with a couple of prominent unmarried senators, Americans have long suspected that soccer might be gay. Now, it’s official. On Monday, the US men’s national team unveiled a redesign to the team’s logo that replaces red stripes in the crest with the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag.
“We’re a group that believes in inclusivity, and we’ll continue to project that going forward.”
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 14, 2022
Soccer’s decision to come out of the closet ahead of the World Cup, and to live as its authentic self, was met with shrugs of “well, obviously” and “I always thought soccer might be gay since that time I caught soccer trying on my make-up and lipsyncing to Donna Summer.” The practice of “diving” in the sport — feigning being fouled to gain an unfair advantage usually accompanied by theatrical wailing and other histrionics — also never helped soccer’s heterosexual bona fides.
The empty, banal, gesture-signaling allegiance to corporate neoliberalese is intended to reassure a tiny set of LGBT activists who question the league’s participation in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar, a country where homosexuality is illegal. The team, however, was quick to note the gay crest won’t be worn on the field but instead is displayed somewhere on their base in Doha. In other words, there’s your bone, rainbow gnats, now go away.
Western pink shirts prefer to not acknowledge areas of the world where actual, horrifying, oppression against homosexuals occurs, namely in the Middle East. For a group of the most annoying, vocal and well-funded ideologues, it explains why they’ve been uncharacteristically timid on the World Cup issue. For one, to speak out would highlight how trifling their grievances are at home. Second, their allies in the Democratic Party and their corporate donors with business interests in the region have coerced them to shut up about it. Being the greedy, self-loathing cretins they are, they’ve obeyed.
Some lefties from an earlier era of activism attempted, to little fanfare, to draw attention to the plight of gays in Qatar. In October, British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, a boomer, went to Qatar to ruffle some feathers ahead of the World Cup. He stood outside a museum in Doha with a sign reading “Qatar arrests, jails, and subjects LGBTs to ‘conversion.’” He claimed he was “arrested and detained for forty-nine minutes” and “subjected to interrogation.”
Forty-nine minutes seems quite generous, considering what would have happened to him in Iran or Afghanistan where, since the Taliban was reinstated by President Biden last year, gay people have been hunted and murdered routinely, after a twenty-year reprieve during the American occupation. The administration, and their activists, are predictably silent.
The Qatari government dismissed Tatchell’s story, saying in a statement, “An individual standing in a traffic roundabout was cordially and professionally asked to move to the sidewalk.” Video of the encounter seems to support the Qatari version of events. But unlike the current generation of crusaders, at least Tatchell attempted to give lip-service to something that might actually matter, even if he inadvertently ended up making Qatar look reasonable.
It should tell you something that America’s most famous soccer player, the ghastly Megan Rapinoe, is a lesbian who plays in the women’s league. That part’s not surprising. Rather, that the sport’s most prominent player is not regarded for her prowess on the field — her team notably lost to Canada at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics — or due to Americans being especially passionate about women’s soccer — they aren’t; barely anyone cares — but because she’s often appointed to throw public temper-tantrums in support of extremely safe, institutionally protected political opinions.
That includes advocating for her own extinction. So far, women’s professional soccer has been marked safe from the incursion of ursine, empenised womenfolk launching balls past their fairer teammates to fame and fortune, but that may be short-lived. Rapinoe has come out in defense of transgender “inclusion” in sex-segregated athletics.
For the man in Tehran with the swishy walk, petrified each day he’ll get stopped by morality police and have his phone confiscated: rest assured. The bloated NGOs of America have your back. For the next few weeks, at a building in Doha, there’s a rainbow slapped on a wall somewhere.