Rarely do I ever comment on matters involving soccer, as I am not a fan of the sport. Hey, it’s just me … or maybe it’s an American thing.
Still, I am left with a feeling of empathy and dread for what might await the members of Iran’s national soccer team, which lost to the U.S. team 1-0. The loss eliminated the Iranians from the World Cup.
What now? Well, members of the Iranian team refused to sing their country’s national anthem the other day, drawing scorn from the ayatollahs who run the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian soccer team now must return home.
What will they face? Imprisonment? Or worse, for God’s sake?
The athletes were expressing their support for the demonstrators who are rebelling in Iran against the government’s treatment of women. The only way they believed they could make their feelings known would be to remain silent when they played the Iranian anthem at a World Cup soccer match.
Do you recall when sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their gloved fists at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 during the playing of our national anthem to protest the plight of Black Americans? The public response in that moment wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, but the government took no action against these men. The sprinters are now considered heroes for the courage they demonstrated at the time.
Not so for the Iranians. The potential reaction from their government is frightening.