Iraqi censorship, a boy named Adu and yellow cards with it

Iraqi censorship, a boy named Adu and yellow cards with it

by Mark Pleiss

Mark Goodman of the Student Press Law Center talked at Simpsonlast week on the topic of student press law freedoms. Among themany topics he covered was the matter of “the voiceless” whostruggle to have their opinions heard.

We’re fortunate to have an administration that is conducive tofree expression at Simpson, particularly in the field of thestudent newspaper. Ask any dedicated student journalist withoutsuch an open-minded administration. It can be a headache. I knowfirst-hand the sting of censorship. It can come anytime, over anypaltry matter.

There’s a battle being repeatedly waged right now in thiscountry over students’ right to publish what they want. Studentsare battling so they don’t become apart of “the voiceless.”

A few thousand miles away, our government has built a new”voiceless” people, an entire country to be exact.

Last week, the United States military temporarily shut downseveral newspapers in Iraq because they were publishinganti-American articles. Doing so was one of the largest acts ofhypocrisy our government could have unleashed against theIraqis.

Upon dethroning Sadam Hussein, we said the Iraqi people arefree. If we plan on creating democracy in Iraq, we can’t cut offthe most basic premise of democracy: the freedom of speech.

Of course there’s two sides to the matter. I understand there’sa war going on. I know the dispensing of anti-American sentimentisn’t going to fare well with soldiers who are getting shot at.

But our government has already given the Iraqi peopleexpectations that they will live freely. If we tell them this iswhat we will give them, and then not give it to them, why shouldthey trust us? And more importantly, why should they do what we’retelling them is good for them?

The First Amendment isn’t something that should apply only whenwe feel like it.


Much Adu about something

He’s 14 and has his first game beneath his belt. He played forabout 30 minutes and touched the ball six or seven times. Sadly, hedidn’t do anything to put him on the ESPN top 10 list, but hewasn’t a disappointment either.

If you don’t know Freddy Adu, or have just become so ignorant tosoccer you haven’t heard of the young phenom, he’s playing for D.C.United of Major League Soccer and has some heavy expectations. Aduhas been given the burden of saving soccer in America. Of course,he won’t save soccer in America. It’s going to take a lot more thanone player to do that.

I’m a soccer player here at Simpson. And what I, a member of thesoccer world, can hope for is that Adu at least brings somerecognition to the sport.

If that was the goal, he’s succeeded thus far because somethinghappened that usually doesn’t happen. The game sold out. The gamewas shown on ABC. There were actually fans in the crowd.

Albeit, the game wasn’t pretty. The first 15 minutes were likewatching a middle school kickball match. Once things calmed down,American soccer, though far from international standards, did showpigments of gleam. Once Adu got on, he was matched by Jeff Agoos,an experienced national team player (who’s a lot bigger than a14-year-old) who simply crushed Freddy whenever he gotone-on-one.

What I hope people notice, especially from watching Freddygetting thrown around a bit, is what professional refereeing is.And more importantly, why they never called a foul when the14-year-old ate the grass.

In professional and international play, the whistle isn’tsomething that’s blown every 30 seconds. The Iowa Conference soccerleague was second in the country in fouls this year. Simpson andLoras men’s soccer programs, two of the leading teams every year,were among the most yellow-card-ridden.

In fact, disciplinary measures are being considered for bothschools due to their large number of yellow cards. But what is ayellow card? Those who criticize teams with lots of yellow cardsmust not know.

Basically, you can get a yellow card for anything. Whereas afootball player and baseball player can scream obscenities on thefield, a soccer player will get a yellow card for saying anyfour-letter-word, any blasphemy or even anything that just has whatyou might call a lot of negative emotion. You can get a yellow cardfor giving the ref a funny look. You can get a yellow card forgoing in to win a ball and accidentally hitting the player you’reup against.

A yellow card is simply a warning. According to conferencerules, if you collect five of them during the season, you have tosit out a match. That’s a brainless rule because players who aren’tdirty, just hard-working, will inevitably have to sit out at leastone game in a season. And players who have four yellow cards areencouraged to get their fifth when the next team they played is aweaker one. The rule can actually encourage what it’s trying tosuppress.

The yellow-card rule is detrimental to the sport because itfrowns on hard play. It’s a rule that can and does work in England,where all the officials know how the game is supposed to be played,but not in a sub-professional level.

I’m not whining because I hate referees. This is a real issue.Ask any serious player in the Midwest and he’ll tell you he hasseen these problems. Iowa and Nebraska refereeing have always beennotoriously conservative, and that is the greatest reason we leadthe nation in yellow cards. Travel outside the Midwest ontournaments and you’ll see a different game.

Disciplinary measures should be determined by red cards issuedfor severe fouls and actions – the kind for which other sports takedisciplinary measures. The Simpson men’s team had one red card lastyear. One. It had 44 yellows, 44 warnings.

There are coaches out there who would dream to have their teamsget 44 yellows and only one red card. That shows they’re playinghard, but not being out of control.