How unfortunate was a US-Haiti opener for the U-17s?

Having been in a teaching program, I have been cautioned not to publicize my political beliefs, then listened to discussion after discussion about how teaching (both our practice and content) is and can’t help being a political act. The same is true in writing: as a journalist-in-training, you are cautioned not to allow bias, but every decision that goes into your practice and content expresses bias. Etc.

It’s hard not to feel at least some pressure to talk politics and world affairs during major international tournaments, and sometimes during the smaller tournaments as well. It’s especially hard when you feel the need to examine and pick apart the media–you can’t help letting your biases and beliefs come into play. I can’t, anyway, and I like to be up front about that.

I have a strong opinion on the US-Haiti relationship. I know this colored my perception of the media surrounding the U-17 game. I know this quickly pushed me to ignore talk about game, especially after a brief disagreement with a friend.

I would just like to clarify that I don’t think the U-17 players were disrespectful. I don’t think they ran up the score against Haiti (a 9-0 result). I don’t think it would have been respectful for them to play any differently than they did, and if you look at this game in context with the others, the US beat the other two teams in their group by greater margins (14-0 and 10-0).

But I do think that what the media chose to focus on takes something away from the US-Haiti U-17 interactions on and off the field, and I think that is partly because it undermines the integrity of that experience by overemphasizing one specific story without exploring the greater context of the YNT programs, the tournament, the earthquake, and the bigger-than-soccer and not-so-flattering history between the US and Haiti.

The links below are (mostly) as far as I could bring myself to go in my media consumption outside of watching the game. Some of these rubbed me the wrong way, and some didn’t offend me at all.

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