Back in November, I felt compelled to write a piece on Le Monde and Yannick Noah’s bitter jealousy-filled interview published there concerning Rafael Nadal and Spanish sports in general. I usually don’t like weighing in on topics like that because first, it gives a morsel of legitimacy to what is simple fish-wife gossip. I also don’t like talking about it because I don’t want to play a part in giving legs to the rumors.
But I’ve decided if Rafa can speak out about it, so can I. Here’s the background. By now, about everyone knows that back in February Alberto Contador earned himself a 2-year ban from professional cycling and had his Tour de France title taken for testing positive for clenbuturol. Mr. Contador claimed that he consumed the PED (performance enhancing drug) by eating tainted meat. As arguments go, it’s at least feasible, as the drug has been known to be used by veterinarians on animals (and as we know, NO athlete has ever knowingly taken a PED)...but I digress.
Apparently, French television played some Freudian free association with the Contador story. It goes a little something like this:
1. A Spanish athlete was convicted by WADA of using PEDs and had his title stripped.
2. The French Federation for the Defamation and Hatred of All Spanish Athletes but Mostly Rafael Nadal determined, after careful consideration, that the Contador case was a de facto conviction for every athlete living in Spain.
3. Or at least the ones that win a lot.
4. Since Nadal is guilty by association (and musculature) it is therefore acceptable and appropriate for a French television show to portray him (in puppet form, of course) urinating into a car’s gas tank in order to make it go faster, tagged with the by-line “Spanish athletes: they don’t win by chance”.
And actually, while we’re talking about it, that by-line is, pardon my language, STUPID. What’s the point? That every athlete from every other country DOES win by chance? Like Serena Williams tripped into the All-England club and walked away with the trophy? That Roger Federer took time out from his busy yodeling schedule and just by happenstance became a 16-time Slam champion?
Anyway, a month after the skit was aired on Canal+ in France, the topic has resurfaced. Why? Because Spain is fighting back. The Spanish tennis federation has issued a statement which indicates that they intend to sue Canal+.
This interested me from the moment I heard about it, because as far as I’m aware, you can’t actually sue a puppet for slinging excrement. But after a little digging, what I discovered is that Spanish tennis is going to sue the network because they used the Spanish tennis federation’s logo without permission.
This isn’t quite as compelling as a law suit which contains the phrase “the puppet’s going DOWN”, but I applaud the sentiment regardless. Also, you can sort of tell that's what they WOULD have said if they could have gotten away with it.
Seriously, that “skit” is such a breach of basic common decency, I almost don’t know where to begin. It’s one thing to boo a teenager when he walks out on court. I mean, it’s despicable, don’t get me wrong...but that can come with being a famous athlete. It’s quite something else for the mass media of an entire country to conduct what amounts to a witch hunt and focus it on one guy whose biggest crime is that he wins a lot.
I couldn’t be more thrilled that Spanish tennis is taking action, because it says very clearly that they stand behind Rafael Nadal and have nothing to hide. Rafa himself referred to the myriad of drug tests he’s taken. And if his English were just slightly better, he’d be saying, “BRING IT”.
One thing is for sure....the French Open ought to be verrryyyy interesting this year.
Sat 06/07 06:31
Tennistalk says farewell
Thu 06/06 04:05
Novak Djokovic's unsung hero
Tue 21/05 15:52
Another Federer and Nadal match disappoints
Fri 17/05 18:03
Bill Tilden and the effects of moral bankruptcy on a legacy
Tue 19/03 21:01
Professor Federer teaches us a thing or two
Mon 18/03 15:43
Nadal makes the cleverest comeback in tennis history
Fri 01/02 22:00
Nadal's return at Vina del Mar
Thu 15/11 16:54
Federer and company make no room at the top for youth
Tue 11/09 20:24
Murray joins the ranks of Grand Slam elite
Fri 17/08 19:45
There is something about Roger Federer
Mon 13/08 23:05
Tennistalk is in Cincinnati again
Tue 12/06 16:21
The French Open, Nadal's personal playground
Wed 09/05 14:58
Novak Djokovic takes up skating at the Madrid ice rink
Thu 29/03 14:30
Nadal and Spain give French TV a punch in the mouth
|1. Djokovic||12 500 pts|
|2. Murray||8 750 pts|
|3. Federer||8 670 pts|
|4. Ferrer||6 970 pts|
|5. Nadal||6 385 pts|
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