Is Sportsmanship A White Thing?

I’m disgusted at all the flopping about in the World Cup, not just among South Americans but also among Europeans such as the Dutch. The Americans and the British flop a lot less because they have these quaint Anglo-Saxon ideals of good sportsmanship.

As we let in more non-white immigrants such as Muslims, we get more horrors such as this, as reported by

LIVONIA, MI — The death of a Westland man who was assaulted during a Sunday soccer match has captured national attention, and the head of a referees’ group is speaking out on the matter — again.

Barry Mano, president of the Wisconsin-based National Association of Sports Officials has spoken at length on the violent death of a soccer referee once before, after Ricardo Portillo was punched by a teenage player and died a week later near Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013.

Mano was asked during an HBO interview last year whether he believed such an incident would ever happen again.

“My answer was ‘Yes.’ And, sadly, I have been proven right about something I wish with every bone in my body I would have been proven wrong,” Mano wrote in a column to be published in Referee magazine.

This time, the victim was John Bieniewicz, a 44-year-old dialysis technician at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Police believe Bassel Saad, 36, of Dearborn, punched Bieniewicz after growing angry when the referee signaled for his ejection during a soccer match at Mies Park on West Chicago Street in Livonia around noon Sunday.


Respect for others suffuses the other qualities we think of as typifying Western man. Ideals of sportsmanship, for example, are meant to curb expressions of triumphalism and protect the loser from humiliation. They are also meant to instill in competitors a respect for fair play that is more powerful than the desire to win. In its most extreme form, fair play requires that a player refuse to believe he was cheated.

In his younger days Teddy Roosevelt pursued “the strenuous life.” Historians write of the time he was in a boxing match when the gong sounded the end of the round. Just as Roosevelt dropped his guard his opponent let fly and hit him square in the face.

Blood gushed from Roosevelt’s nose. A growl of disapproval rose from the crowd. Roosevelt went to the edge of the ring and shouted: “He didn’t hear the bell. He didn’t hear the bell.”

The history of the penalty kick in British soccer reflects the same tradition. The kick was granted on the assumption that a player who was fouled within scoring distance must have been deliberately fouled. When soccer became a professional sport, many former British amateurs would not take the penalty kick. They refused to believe that anyone in their sport could commit a deliberate foul.

Rooting for the underdog is another European sporting tradition. This, too, shows Western man’s concern for the other person’s point of view. Some competitors may be no-hopers, but we cheer their efforts and hope for the unexpected upset.

The swaggering, “trash talk,” corner cutting, and absence of gentlemanly play that characterize sports today are largely the importation of non-white behavior into a previously white arena. Sadly, many whites have been infected and act just as loutishly.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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