We should all be feeling sorry for Paolo Di Canio. At least in Paolo Di Canio’s eyes.
In an uncharacteristic fit of petulance, he’s threatened to ban journalists from future Sunderland press conferences.
Normally, Di Canio has been famously level-headed when he doesn’t get his own way, like when he calmly and rationally assaulted a referee for a decision that went against him, but now he’s getting increasingly angry about ridiculous questions like “Are you a fascist?” just because a few years back he said “I’m a fascist.”
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Of course, what he meant to say, at least according to his current evasiveness, was “I’m definitely not a fascist at all, and there’s no reason to ever call me one.”
Part of these aforementioned “no reasons” are his instances of giving what he describes as a “Roman Salute” to fans during his playing career.
It was, he insisted, a Roman Salute and not a Nazi salute. In the pictures below we can clearly see Di Canio demonstrating the Roman Salute, as well as some other enthusiastic young classical historians practicing Greco-Roman salutations from antiquity.
After performing his “Roman salute” and saying in a 2005 interview “I’m a fascist,” Di Canio apparently became a bit tetchy about being described as a fascist, for some reason. Probably that it would cost him a lot in lost earnings if people thought he was the obvious fascist that he was.
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Since moving to Sunderland – and area of the UK that could fairly be described as left-of-centre on the political spectrum, and more accurately described as “so far left of centre your average Maccam shouts ‘Thatcher!’ reflexively when he stubs his toe in the dark” – things have gone from bad to worst for Di Canio. First, former Labour politician and Sunderland vice-chairman David Milliband resigned from the club in protest, refusing to work with a man who is a self-described fan of Mussolini.
Next, the press decided to actually do their jobs for once and investigate something by asking questions, instead of the more popular “bribe a policeman/hack a mobile” technique we’re all so used to.
In response to these ridiculous, unfounded questions – like “Are you a fascist?” and “Alright, then why did you say you were a fascist?” – Paolo Di Canio has threatened to ban journalists who keep raising the subject from future press conferences.
And if the press had any balls, they’d call his bluff.
Think about it; if everyone kept relentlessly asking him awkward questions about his politics – questions like “How come you’re a fan of someone who was mates with Hitler?” – he’d end up having to ban all the journalists in Britain. Which is ironic, given that Mussolini was big on silencing the press, but the point is this: Without any media coverage, Sunderland as a club would be in pretty deep trouble and Di Canio would either have to grovel or resign.
Silencing the press, it turns out, only works when you’re in complete charge of an entire country, not the new manager for a struggling Premier League side in the north east.
Of course, reporting on a controversial figure like Di Canio sells papers, so there’s no chance that the press will actually stand up to his bully tactics and ask questions he doesn’t like. Which is a shame, as it would be nice to see someone burst the jumped-up, arrogant bubble of the slimy Nazi sympathiser.
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