FOOTBALL

Famous People Are Stupid Too

Giorgios Katidis

You don’t need a brain to become famous in this life. But you do need to be an idiot to listen to people who are.

Giorgios Katidis

We’re not afraid to court controversy around here. Sick Chirpse will say the things no other website is willing to say, and go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitting sacred cows of mixed metaphor.

Specifically, we’re not afraid to say that the Nazis aren’t popular.

Yeah, we went there.

Of course, the Nazis haven’t really been popular since that whole “mass global conflict/genocide” thing they were responsible for way back when, but all of this horror and bloodshed seems to be news to Greek international footballer Giorgos Katidis, who celebrated a goal earlier this month with a rousing Nazi salute to the crowd.

Through what one hopes was an unpleasant coincidence and nothing else, this unfortunate (read: fascistic) goal celebration occurred on the 70th anniversary of the first Greek Jews being shipped to the camps by the Nazis, which only served to make the situation worse. And when a situation starts with Nazi salutes and gets “worse,” you know you’re in trouble.

Katidis seemed to sense that he may have angered a few people by cheerfully invoking the spirit of the holocaust on a national day of mourning for its victims, and struggled to find an excuse.

Initially he claimed he had been pointing to someone in the crowd, which was about as believable as “I was playing ‘Invisible Shot Put'” or “My gardener was in the stands and I was reminding him how I want my hedge trimmed.”

With this excuse patently ridiculous, Katidis presumably brainstormed a few others (“I’m auditioning for a remake of ‘Escape To Victory!'”) before going on to claim that he actually had no idea of the meaning of the gesture.

The entire footballing world was about to make the universal “Jimmy Hill” gesture of incredulity. Surely, we thought, nobody can be that much of an idiot? At this point, none other than Katidis’ coach stepped into the fray to protest that, really, he is that much of an idiot.

It’s so bad an alibi it might even be true, especially when we remember that this is a professional soccer player we’re dealing with. This is not a sport known for luminaries or intellectuals. Aside from Joey Barton of course.

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Football is filled with the sort of people who seem to have no idea what they’re talking about at the best of times. There are thousands of “stupid footballer” quotes to be found, but they all show the same sort of struggling mental processes.

Bobby Robson

“If we played like that every week, we wouldn’t be so inconsistent,” said Bobby Robson, failing to understand the word “consistent” or its antonym.

“What he’s got is legs, which the other midfielders don’t have,” said Lennie Lawrence of another player, simultaneously scoring no marks for anatomy.

“Playing with wingers is more effective against European sides like Brazil than English sides like Wales,” said Ron Greenwood, a man so bad with geography he’s probably not sure where Ron Greenwood is, most of the time.

Player-turned-coach Don Howe showed astonishing numeracy skills when he once said he expected a team to finish “perhaps in the top three; I can’t seem them finishing any higher.”

I could go on and on, but already we’ve seen that footballers aren’t great with numbers, geography, biology or language. Is it really such a stretch to assume that footballers are clueless about history?

If we are going to teach young men that being good at a sport will net them an enormous income without any minimum intellectual requirement, we cannot then object when they do something stupid. It may be flabbergasting to most people that someone could be ignorant of the defining event of the last century, but we’ve given Giorgos Katidis all the excuse he needs for being that stupid. He’s succeeded in life without having to be anything other than be a moron who’s good at football, and, like a puppy that shits on the rug, he really doesn’t understand why that fun-looking salute he saw somewhere is bad.

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Ken Barlow 2

It’s the same problem we’ve seen closer to home with William Roache.

Best known – in fact, only known – for playing Coronation Street’s Ken Barlow, William Roache is a spiritualist druid who was home-schooled by his grandfather, is 80 years old and recently said that people who were victims of sexual abuse had brought in on themselves through their actions in a past life. Click HERE for more on that story if you missed it a couple of days ago.

Absolutely ridiculous, sure, but if you’re going to ask an 80-year-old hippy nutter for an opinion, you have no right to be shocked when that opinion is stupid and ill-thought-out. Of course a senile druid thinks ridiculous things; the real question is, why are we asking for his opinion in the first place, much less paying it any attention when he voices it?!

Basic evolutionary psychology forces people to put the well-known on a pedestal. They’re famous, therefore they seem like leaders and people we should admire and listen to. But the truth is, we’re expecting far too much.

Giorgos Katidis is so ignorant of history he probably thinks a Trojan Horse is a make of extra-large condom. He is that way because we’ve allowed him to be. William Roache is a decrepit astrologer and spiritualist who thought that the world would “move to a higher vibration” on 21st December 2012, which means we shouldn’t listen to him about anything, ever, let alone invite him to have a say.

In future, we should in fact turn to history professors if we want thoughtful discourse about the war. We should turn to sociologists if we want to understand what would possess the young and the stupid in Greece to think Nazism is cool. We should talk to therapists and neuroscientists if we want considered, useful opinions on the causes and effects of sexual abuse.

We shouldn’t expect Giorgos Katidis to be smart and thoughtful, and we shouldn’t expect William Roache to be an authority on anything.

We shouldn’t blame people in the public eye for being stupid. We just need to learn to stop expecting them to be an authority on issues that they have no reason to be knowledgeable of.

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