Ondrive with Sham Samaroo
December 2, 2022
Week two of World Cup 2022 was filled with all kinds of drama and excitement. But perhaps the most talked-about story of the week was an interview by an Iranian journalist with USA captain, Tyler Adams. Tension was already running high in the lead up to their do-or-die clash. The stakes got even higher when, allegedly in a show of solidarity with the protesters in Iran, the US Soccer Federation erred by briefly displaying on its social media page the Iranian flag without the Republic’s emblem. In response an Iranian journalist, dealing from the bottom of the deck, played the BLM card in his interview with Tyler Adams. Was he looking to stir the pot by conveniently playing the race card, having seen the divisiveness it resulted in America? Or could it be that he was expecting a sympathetic ear in Tyler Adams who is of mixed race? Whatever his motives, he seemed to have grossly miscalculated. New York born-and-raised Tyler Adams, cool as Mr. Ice, proceeded to educate him on discrimination, race, and culture before sending him on his merry way. Straboy says: Go New York!
In Starboy parlance, here is what happened. The journalist opened with a left jab, scolding Adams for incorrectly pronouncing his country’s name, telling him that it is “ee-Ron” and not EYE-RAN”. Confident that he had the 23-year old on the ropes, the journalist stepped in for the KO. He asked Adams about representing the US, a “country that has so much discrimination against Black people in its own borders” with the BLM protests that followed the death of George Floyd. Adams floated like a butterfly to evade the jab: “My apologies on the mispronunciation of your country. That being said, there’s discrimination everywhere you go”. Then, like the Champ, Adams went to the rope-a-dope: “One thing that I’ve learned, especially from living abroad in the past years and having to fit in in different cultures and kind of assimilate into different cultures, is that in the US, we’re continuing to make progress every single day. Growing up for me, I grew up in a White family and with obviously an African-American heritage and background as well. So, I had a little bit of different cultures, and I was very easily able to assimilate in different cultures”.
Next came the stinging coup de grâce: “Not everyone has that ease and the ability to do that, and obviously, it takes longer to understand, and through education, I think it’s super important. Like you just educated me now on the pronunciation of your country. So, yeah, it’s a process. I think as long as you see progress, that’s the most important thing.”
Starboy shouted: Break out the smelling salts, man down for the count. Gwyaan wid yuh bad self Tyler! Bredren up for ambassadorship right after his soccer career, predicted Starboy. The following day the two teams met in a thrilling encounter. USA narrowly won 1-0 on a brilliant goal by Christian Pulisic of Croatian heritage; a goal set up by self-styled Texas teammate Weston McKennie. The US had a chance to double their lead just before half time, but fellow teammate and Brooklyn’s own Tim Weah, of Liberian heritage, had a goal disallowed. With the win, the US punched their ticket to the round of 16 and a date with three-time finalist, the Netherlands.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the position or policy of the THE WEST INDIAN.