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May 20, 2021

Soccer Shma

Tomer Hemed, an Israeli footballer playing for Wellington Phoenix, scored a goal the other day against Melbourne City. Celebrating the goal. Hemed pulled a kipa out of his shirt and put it on his head, while pointing to heaven and covering his eyes he recited the Shma prayer.

Later Hemed posted online about dedicating the game to his country, Israel, with an expression of hope for peace.

His team is upset at him about his form of celebration, as is the league administration. They expect no punishment at this time, but it seems a reprimand will be forthcoming, besides for the admonishing he has already been subjected to.. 

It seems he was penalized for the celebration, as covering the head or face with a mask or other covering is against the rules.

They are upset about the human tragedy happening and think he was celebrating Israel's perpetration of that. 

Sports used to be supposedly apolitical - and if it was political that was only in the background. Nowadays it seems as if sports is openly political.

The penalty is fine - he celebrated in a way that broke the rules, and he got a penalty for it as I assume he likely expected he would. The criticism for his showing solidarity with his country, with expressing a wish for peace and showing solidarity with his people.

At the same time, he surely must have known he was going to be censured for his act and he did it anyway. I am proud he stood up for what he felt was the right thing, solidarity with his people, in the face of punishment and criticism.

In today's day and age of self expression, sports are finding it difficult to relate to the young athletes who have different ideas of "the unwritten rules" than what used to be common. Disputes like this are happening all over sports.

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1 comment:

  1. He might have upset his bosses & peers, but he surely brought naches to the biggest BOSS of all, Hashem, and that's what matters.


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