Well, it could have been a lot worse

I finally saw footage of the now infamous Zidane headbutt. It came in the form of an explanation showing that Zidane was actually saving a man’s life by knocking him out of the way of a sniper bullet.

(That link’s actually pretty funny…)

At the risk of sounding like a complete thug, I have to say something here briefly….

Zidane butted this guy in the chest. To me it looks like Materazzi is making great theater of the TREMENDOUS FORCE of the blow, and the ENSUING AGONY he endured.

I am not what you’d call an authority on hand-to-hand combat… (shaddup, eponymous)… but headbutting someone in the chest is not the stuff of international incidents. Yes, it was in overtime, and yes, it may have cost the French the cup, but it’s not like he headbutted Materazzi in the face, which would have been an act of profound aggression. The Scottish Handshake, as is sometimes called, breaks noses, smashes teeth and breaks cheekbones. It’s the sort of attack that is meant to maim someone. I have passed on using it once or twice myself. Reading the media coverage of the incident, I thought Zindane had tried to kill Materazzi. Crap. Sensationalist bullshit.

Headbutting someone in the chest is shorthand for “Fuck you. You want to play? Let’s dance, sweetheart.”

Sure, it looks like Zidane lost his temper, and word is leaking out today that Materazzi probably did provoke him with the intent of drawing the foul. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have had the same reaction, to be perfectly honest. Bad sportsmanship, sure, but I think that it would be a lot more responsible to say “Zidane struck Materazzi in the chest with his head.” Calling it a “Headbutt” has completely different connotations.

::UPDATE:: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the lipreaders say the insult was “son of a terrorist whore.”

UK newspaper The Times hired Jessica Rees, whose skill has had her summoned as an expert witness at criminal trials, to study a tape of Sunday’s match in which Zidane received a red card for his seemingly spontaneous assault.

“After an exhaustive study of the match video and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed Materazzi called Zidane ‘the son of a terrorist whore’ before adding ‘so just f— off’ for good measure,” it reported.

So. To review: Zizou is Algerian and his mother is dying.

What would you have done?


  1. How about _Not_ head-butted the guy in the chest? Whether or not it seems like it was provoked (and massively provoked), you don’t just haul off and hurt someone. Sticks and stones, you know?

  2. Steve

    I hope I wouldn’t have headbutted him, especially at such a critical part of the game. Zizou is a top penalty kick taker and it’d been nice for France to have had him then.

    — Steve

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