QWK KCKS: It’s Always Sunny In Ukrainadelphia

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

QWK KCKS is our way of helping you get your day started with a refreshing blast of football culture right in your face.

It’s Always Sunny In Ukrainadelphia

Today’s intro is heavier than usual KCKRS fare. Skip it if you’re not here for anything serious. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Yes, it’s true that once the games start, with all eyes focused on the events field and UEFA doing their dogged best to sweep away the ugliness, most of us will forget how sordid the news that has marked the buildup to Euro 2012 has been.

There’s the talks of boycotts from European leaders in protest of Ukraine’s treatment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who, at this very moment, remains imprisoned on charges she abused her office despite the view that her conviction was politically motivated. There’s the racist yammerings of Ukrainian ultras, warnings from whom have become a talking point in the English media during the run-up to the tournament. The families of several black England players have made the decision to remain at home rather than risk any potential harm. There’s a chance that this is all overblown, that the FA (who have issued their own warning to traveling supporters) and the media are sensationalizing the possible danger, but there’s no denying the racist elements that exist in Ukraine. “Better safe than sorry” is a legitimate axiom to follow for the situation. Oh, and there’s rampant homophobia, too.

Last, but not least, is the ongoing campaign by the Ukrainian protest group FEMEN to bring attention to the trafficking of sex workers in their country and elsewhere. FEMEN has already managed to attack the Euro trophy on three different occasions as events begin during the pre-tourney weeks, and their eye-catching strategy of topless protest is an effective means by which drum up publicity (although one wonders if it makes it too easy for the media, specifically in England, to dismiss them as a curiosity). FEMEN isn’t likely to stop their efforts just because there’s actual football, so it will be interesting to see how often their name appears in the press during the tournament proper. Of course, it’s the issue that’s important. The question, however, is if anyone cares.

The cynical take is that no one, least of all those of us watching on television from afar, will care about the imprisoned politician, the racism, or the issue of human trafficking, once the first ball is kicked. Better to pretend those things aren’t there, and leave all the icky distractions to the authorities on the ground. We just want our football. Which is more important, that Ukraine has a problem with racism that forced fans that would otherwise be there to stay home (perhaps presaging a certain World Cup in six years), or that Germany young attackers are so marvelous to watch? Is the (possible) unlawful imprisonment of a former leader worth any thought at all, or are we only concerned with whether England will underoverachievedisappoint? Is Spain on the decline—oh look, there are some topless women making news about prostitution or something—Vincente Del Bosque has a bit of a striker crisis, doesn’t he?

One a wider scale, the real issue is this: Should a major tournament like the Euros ever be given to a nation with so many social problems as Ukraine? Do you believe that holding the Euros in that country will effect positive change, or is it only serving to reward them for a litany of disturbing human rights issues?

Honestly, the only thing I can be sure about at this moment is just how much better Poland looks in comparison to their co-hosts. Now we get to sit back and watch to see if any of the above issues read their heads during the tournament, and if so, if anyone actually takes note.

And now, the links.

 

PHOTO: IT’S LIKE A TRUCKLOAD OF PUMPKINS EXPLODED ALL OVER THE PLACE.

This is how Holland rolls. (Reuters)
 

 

 

FINALLY, A POINTS SYSTEM WE CAN USE TO RATE SOCCER COMMERCIALS. FINALLY.

Leave it to the boys at The Other 87 to come up with an ingenious point system for rating soccer ads. Here’s the breakdown of Nike’s newest effort, My Time Is Now. // The Other 87

 

OH MY GOD GET AN ASTROPHYSICIST ABBY CROUCH IS TURNING INTO A SUPERNOVA.

Or, she’s taking self photos with a strategically placed flash. Slightly, possibly, NSFW pic. // Kickette

 

NOW THAT ONE GUY YOU KNOW WILL SWEAR HE’S A CHELSEA FAN AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CHELSEA FAN EVEN THOUGH YOU SAW HIM IN A ROONEY JERSEY LAST WEEK. SIGH.

Check out the Chelsea Champions League winners schwag. // The Beautiful Gear

 

PHOTO: THIS IS THE PHOTO OF ZLATAN WIPING HIS MOUTH WITH HIS SHIRT YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED.

You’re welcome. (AP Photo)

 

PLAYERS CAN NOW BE FIRED FOR BEING RACIST ASSHATS. WILL THEY BE? HMMM.

The PFA is putting a clause into player contracts that lets clubs fire them for racist behavior on the field. That’s great, and it’s well past about time, but it’s hard to imagine star player getting the ax because of it. // The Footy Blog

 

‘CHELSEA TERROR’ IS A WAY BETTER NAME FOR A SONG THAN ‘CHELSEA DAGGER.’

After flipping football on its head with their free-spending ways, Chelsea finally won a Champions League. But not as the renegade club they once were. // Grantland

 

FACT: THERE IS ALMOST AS MUCH SOCCER ON AMERICAN TELEVISION AS THERE ARE LAW & ORDER SPINOFFS.

Let’s take a moment and ponder how the plethora of soccer viewing options on American television effects ratings. // Sounder At Heart

 

PHOTO: MODERN TRAINING TECHNIQUES ARE WEIRD. ALTHOUGH LA PAZ IS CRAZY HIGH.

Chilean players spend time in a hyperbaric chamber as part of their training for a match against Bolivia in La Paz, approximately 12,000 feet above sea level. (Reuters)

 

ANY HISTORY THAT COMBINES SOCCER AND BASEBALL IS MY KIND OF HISTORY.

That’s right, friend. I like baseball. Here’s an interesting bit of history on America’s first professional soccer league and the possibility it was won by a team of moonlighting baseball players. // LA Times

 

WHAT, AND ROOT AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF THE TRADEMARK ENGLISH DRAMA? SURELY YOU JEST.

This guy (an English guy) says Americans should root for England at the Euros. This is mostly because they’re not the favorites and they don’t make a habit of kicking people. // Bleacher Report

 

AND NOW WE RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED KCKRS PROGRAMMING.

Today’s search for links really exposed me to the craziness that is Ukraine. Between the issues highlight above, fighting in parliament, whatever the hell this thing is, and the fact that Russia had to move their headquarters for the tournament because of possible protests, the place is off the charts nuts. Follow. Like. Off we go.

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