Discrimination as Entertainment and Ammunition

Maybe there will be a pre and post-Gray/Keys era in soccer. That’s the hope, but there is plenty of reason to be pessimistic.

We seem to only visit ‘isms’ (I include homophobia as an ‘ism’) in sport en masse when there are crises. But to think that sport wasn’t rife with sexism, racism and homophobia before these crises is to be willfully naive. Perhaps even more frustrating is how quickly we forget very public episodes only days after we turn the world upside down. Continue reading

Dancing with U.S. Soccer: A Gentleman’s History of Bogling and Boon-Boo-Ree featuring Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury & Pablo Ramirez

NR Boombox

And so it began with A Gentleman’s History of the Stanky Legg. An opportunity to use goal celebration dances to learn about ourselves and share some of what we are with our friends around the world. I know, it’s just a game, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be just a game.


Jozy Altidore and Charlie Davies kicked off the era of celebratory dancing in U.S. soccer in 2009. But a new era might be upon us thanks to New York Red Bulls’ Juan Agudelo and Sporting KC’s Teal Bunbury, two newly minted senior national team players. Continue reading

Nutmeg Radio Mixtape No. 1: The Hip Hopera

NR Turntable

WELCOME TO THE FIRST NUTMEG RADIO MIXTAPE: THE HIP HOPERA! This will be the first of many, covering a range of genres, geographies, languages, and whatever other categories we use to divide music. We can’t promise that you’ll like everything, but as some really old person maybe once said, “You can’t be all things to all people, so you might as well try to be something to someone, and if that doesn’t work, then make a mixtape.”

Each mixtape will not only include a fine spread of beatery, but each track will be dedicated to someone or something related to the global soccer community. Suggestions are welcome. All are welcome. We hope you enjoy.

And with that, it’s the State of the Union, The Hip Hopera. Let’s go … Continue reading

American Idol

Thou Shall Not Worship False Idols

As a child, it doesn’t take much to become involved in idol worship. Often, simply having an advanced age is enough for children to develop worship-like tendencies toward pretty underwhelming characters. All you have to do to comprehend this mindset is stroll into a kid’s room to see the array of magazines, posters, dolls, cards, and other collectibles reflecting their worldview.

And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. Continue reading

Global Music Inspiration: Sway’s “Black Stars” Represents Ghanaian Football


Getting back to the music, I thought I’d take you to a bit of an oldie (erm, 2008) but goodie.

Sway, a British rapper of Ghanaian origin — who has previously collaborated with Liverpool’s Ryan Babel and Babel’s protégé, Perry Mystique — put together this ode to Ghana called “Black Stars.”

It’s always nice to see an artist give a shout out to his/her home. As you’ll quickly see, “Black Stars” is an anthem giving it up to all that is Ghanaian, from Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, to actors, MPs, and, of course, footballers. Continue reading

Two Escobars

Nutmeg Radio’s Interview with The Two Escobars Co-Director Michael Zimbalist: Part II

Here’s the second, and last, installment of my conversation with The Two Escobars co-director Michael Zimbalist. In Part II, we dig a bit deeper into interactions with various characters in the film, discuss the 1994 World Cup match between the U.S. and Colombia, and then get a little philosophical at the end. Enjoy! Continue reading

Two Escobars

Nutmeg Radio’s Interview with The Two Escobars Co-Director Michael Zimbalist: Part I

On the surface, The Two Escobars is a mesmerizing documentary about the tragic intersection of soccer and the drug trade in Colombia during the 1980s and 1990s. But just below the surface, the film reveals a deeper, personal story about a Colombian society simultaneously enriched and shaken to its core. It re-introduces us to legendary soccer icons, reducing them to emotional figures bearing the unique burden of simply being Colombian and incredibly talented during the rise of narco-soccer (loosely defined as the period when soccer was inextricably tied to and funded by narco-trafficking).

Framed by larger than life figures, drug-kingpin Pablo Escobar, and Colombian soccer player Andrés Escobar, The Two Escobars adds color to an era in Colombian history that, from the outside, could easily be viewed as a period of dramatic wins and losses, but in reality, was saturated with complexity.

I spoke with The Two Escobars co-director Michael Zimbalist about the film. In Part I, we discuss his background, the development of the story, reactions to the film, and begin speaking about his interactions with various figures highlighted in the documentary.

Continue reading


Maybe We Should Just Give David Beckham Everything

This David Beckham character has the world in his palm.

After successful stints at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Beckham decided to pursue a new challenge in America (the North one). As part of Beckham’s unique deal with MLS, he was given the option to purchase an MLS club if he stays with the LA Galaxy for the remainder of his contract. That’s a good deal for Team Beckham. And now, long-time Daily Mail football writer Martin Samuel wants to give Beckham English football.

We may be approaching the “David, I want you to have my wife” territory, which is fine, as long as everyone knows that that’s where we’re heading. Continue reading

Paradoo Wins the Right to Host 2018 World Cup

Paradoo Map

Not even Fox News can spin Paradoo’s challenging history of conflict, closed markets, government intervention, and social strife.

But that Paradoo of old has evaporated. The new Paradoo has liberalized its markets and embraced economic mobility. Paradoo is now a country reveling in many of its new found freedoms. It is now a place where everyone can feel comfortable. That is, everyone except white people.

In a recent survey of white residents of Paradoo City, Paradoo’s not-very-cosmopolitan capital, 60% of respondents said that they had been physically assaulted, while 80% of white residents claimed to have been victims of verbal racial abuse.

Even if these numbers are halved, it’s hard to deny that a problem exists. Half of 60 and 80% is still a whole lot of physical and verbal abuse. Continue reading

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