This week, with seconds remaining in the Women’s World Cup Semi-Finals, Laura Bassett of England accidentally scored on her own goal while trying to defend it against a surging Japanese player. The own-goal score resulted in a 2-1 victory for Japan, who now will play the U.S. team in the finals.
Bassett immediately broke down in tears, and was inconsolable. The rest of the world, her teammates, and even the usually harsh English press, showed sympathy, support, and encouragement.
This is in stark contrast to what occurred in 1994 when Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga accidentally scored on his own goal, eliminating Columbia from its World Cup run. There was no sympathy, no support, and no encouragement. Instead, Escobar literally was gunned down and killed by irate fans.
Obviously, we at Ring of Fire believe that athletic competitions are enthralling and provide a tremendous benefit to society from fitness, teamwork, goal setting, entertainment, etc., but it also is a game that often is taken way too seriously by owners, coaches, players and fans that results in unethical, immoral, and illegal conduct.
All of the above, however, leads to the obvious question whether the treatment of Bassett, as a woman athlete, was sympathy or sexism. Either way, we at Ring of Fire wish treatment of male athletic competitions would show the same understanding and compassion that was rightfully shown Bassett.