This story is about soccer, but it's not about the soccer you think you know. That soccer is staid and boring, slow, silly. That soccer isn't worth your time, and if it's not worth your time, would I be writing about it here today? I would not.
But I would write about this kind of soccer. This kind of soccer is full of sex, drugs and broken bones. This kind of soccer is degeneracy. It's lunacy.
It's ready for America.
|Former football phenom Paul Gascoigne is hospitalized after an alleged alcohol- and cocaine-fueled binge. (Getty Images)|
An injury that was more gruesome than Joe Theismann's broken leg and more criminal than Andre Gurode's stomped face.
A riot outside a nightclub after a drunken football star was ejected from the premises.
The forced hospitalization of one of England's most talented players, whose bizarre and allegedly drug-fueled behavior ended with his being placed on suicide watch.
The sex, lies and audiotape surrounding the marital chaos of one of England's premier defenders.
If soccer can't cross over into relevance in this country after all that, it never will. And maybe it won't. Maybe soccer will never matter in the United States, where our athletic plate was full even before the Ultimate Fighting Championship muscled its hybrid sport -- mixed martial arts -- onto the dinner table.
Me, I'm hoping soccer breaks through. Now that Kelvin Sampson has quit and Bill Belichick has apologized and Roger Clemens has publicly immolated, it's too quiet on our side of the pond. It's sort of boring.
A fibula through a sock would do the trick. Not that it should happen anywhere in the world, but if it is going to happen, why not here? Instead it happened in the Premier League, which is to England what the NFL is here, if the NFL was significantly more important than it already is. It happened Saturday when Birmingham's Martin Taylor attacked Arsenal's Eduardo Da Silva, missing the ball but slashing through Da Silva's lower left leg, snapping it like a dry twig. When the play was finished, Da Silva's fibula was protruding jaggedly through his sock. Writing that last sentence nearly made me sick.
Pictures are available, but you're going to have to find them on your own. I can't see it again. Oh, fine. Here it comes. Don't look if you get queasy.
As for Taylor, his punishment has yet to be determined, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he should receive a lifetime ban. This story was huge. This was Lawrence Taylor snapping Theismann's leg combined with Albert Haynesworth stomping on Gurode's face.