So, a few weeks ago, the Portuguese federation banned Ricardo Carvahlo for a year because he skipped out on a national team practice. A pretty harsh punishment, right? If Allen Iverson, the former NBA player, had been dealt with accordingly, he would be serving his ban up until just before the successful colonization of Mars. Sadly, though, I don’t think Ricardo will learn his lesson. Why?
Well, because the punishment is a classic paper tiger. The Portuguese federation did not fine him money, property, or anything else of tangible value. Rather, they punished him after he left the practice…and announced his retirement. Thus, the steely grip of justice is not choking a perpetrator, but rather grasping at thin air. Still, though, not all is lost. I applaud the Portuguese federation for this delicious dish of amusing impotence. While authorities often do this crap to save face, they only provoke chuckles to thinkers with a keen eye.
And now let’s speculate on a few other paper tiger punishments that could have never changed the course of history had they been brutally imposed upon certain perpetrators….
Sepp Blatter’s Punishment after the Corruption Scandals: Term Limits on Swiss Presidents Whose Last Names are the Same Word as Body Parts.
We all know that FIFA is corrupt. We all know that during the Blatter era, indifferent eyes have failed to see the exchange of briefcases full of cash. Many held hope that Grant Wahl could have offered a viable threat to Blatter’s campaign of incompetence, but he failed to secure a nomination. Blatter also managed to unleash an ethics inquiry into his only opponent mere months before the election. What could we possibly do to tame this monstrosity?
Well, Blatter has already said this will be his last term as FIFA President. Thus, the best paper tiger punishment is an irrevocable term limit on FIFA Presidents with a last name that also means a body part. No exceptions, not even for Hispanic candidates with the unfortunate last name of “Colon.” This symbolic punishment would undoubtedly restore the never-existed-credibility of FIFA in the world’s eyes.
Sir Alex’s Punishment for Not Talking to the BBC: Retroactive Gag Order for Interviews with the BBC by Manchester United Managers.
Sir Alex Ferguson hated the BBC. For over seven years, he did not speak with them. Only recently has he made amends. A coach has a right to free speech, including not talking, correct? Wrong. In private enterprise, the Premier League needs the media glow like a human needs oxygen. The Premier League has probably lost millions in free advertising in countless misquoted and erroneously-attributed quotes that could have resulted from Fergie-BBC interviews. Is the just punishment a fine? No. That would be too obvious and costly. At least to Sir Alex.
Rather, the Premier League can only redeem their respect by unilaterally imposing a retroactive interview ban on Sir Alex Ferguson with the BBC for the last seven years and ending today. And this is no “gloves on” touchline retroactive but not currently active ban. Rather, Sir Alex will have been retroactively banned from all past in-person interviews, emails, telephone calls, text messages, gchats, skype chats, skype calls, the whole nine yards. Only then will Sir Alex really learn who was in charge this whole tiime.
Didier Drogba’s Punishment for Diving: $50,000 Fine for Standing in the Box by Chelsea Forwards.
What is it about gusts of wind that inspire poets, guide sailors, and send Didier Drogba tumbling to the ground? The Ivorian has recently volunteered for a Truth & Reconciliation Commission which makes sense – if anyone knows about laying down your arms in opposition territory, it’s Didier. Still, many opposing central defenders have insisted he be shown a yellow card for simulation. However, a yellow card is too strict a punishment with Didier. If he got one for each dive, he probably would get red-carded in a few matches. Thus, another punishment is necessary.
A fine for standing in the opposition box. Yes, you read that correctly. No slap on the wrist. No finger-wagging. No yelling. No timeout. Straight for the jugular, hit him where it doesn’t hurt, fines for things that rarely happen. Obviously, this fine could have repercussions for Nicolas Anelka, who on the rare occasion has accidentally stood his ground in the box. But that’s just the cost of justice.
Rafa Benitez’s Punishment for Being Rafa Benitez: Court Order Preventing Rafa Benitez from Impersonating, Acting, or Leading Another Person to Believe He is Anyone Other than Rafa Benitez.
This is obviously the harshest yet most fitting of the punishments. I know that the global economy is stuttering along, jobs are scarce, and even Rafa Benitez needs to make ends meet. I also know that, in his chronic boredom, he has started a website. But here’s the deal – if we let Rafa Benitez pretend to be someone else, say, submitting an application for the Inter job under the moniker Bafa Renitez, then here’s the risk: somebody else runs could be confused for him. And that’s simply unfair.
Thus, the ultimate paper tiger punishment (which actually has real claws) for the quinteessential blame-the-players-and-gm coach is to be forced to be himself. And to have to live with that fact everyday for the rest of his life.