Or basketball, NBA style.
Or baseball on a major league pitch (I mean field).
If the reasons behind the World Cup temper tantrum that got him chucked out of one of the biggest games of his life are true, then international soccer fields are tempermentally the right place for him.
If it takes for Zidane to go off like a North Korean rocket — which is to say like a dud — is for someone to insult his mother he'd have enough red cards in those other leagues to open a Red Roof Inn without having to buy roof tiles.
"Yes, it is true,'' the hot-tempered star said. "He has called mi Mamma a foul name. He has insult-TED mi mamma, mi sistah. Sacre re blu!''
Or surely Zidane's reaction was something similar after foul-mouthed Italian Marco Materazzi admitted that, "It is true! I did insult him. But I categorically did not call him a terrorist.''
Thanks goodness for that.
A Paris-based anti-racism group — that had absolutely no way of knowing what was said — had claimed Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist,'' an insult apparently to his Algerian heritage.
Turns out the insult was more personal than that. Now, as insults go "Yo Mama'' hardly ranks with what Terrell Owens might say to the valet parking guy at a Dallas restaurant — let alone to an opposing cornerback. But this is soccer after all, a more genteel sporting endeavor (never mind England's Wayne Rooney stepping purposefully on the testicles of a Portugese defender. Hey, it happens.)
"Dirty terrorist'' is an insult of a different nature, of course.
Call Shaq a dirty terrorist and he might slam dunk over you. Have Kobe Bryant insult Shaq's' mother and he might laugh with some heartiness. And then dunk over you.
In major league baseball you can get punched in the head for running too hard into an opposing catcher. In World Cup soccer you can be head-butted for saying 'Your Mama wears boots de combat.''
Oh, but wait a minute. There's also the matter of shirt tugging.
There's an offense worthy of being expelled from the biggest game of your life. What's a guy to do? Let just anyone grab his laundry?
"I held his shirt for a few seconds only,'' Materazzi confessed Tuesday. "Then he turned round and spoke to me, sneering.''
(Oh, good Lord no!).
"He looked me up and down, arrogantly (can you IMAGINE?) and said, 'If you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterwards,''' Materazzi continued.
Then the Italian admitted he responded verbally with, "One of those insults you're told tens of times and that always fly around the pitch.''
Something like suggesting "Yo Momma engages in acts prohibited by law in most states?'' What's a man to do after such an insult? Play on?
How does one come to grips with the actions of the great Zidane then, whose response to this verbal cannonade was to commit the soccer version of Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield's ear?
How do we explain how a sport whose advocates love to call it "the beautiful game'' turned into ultimate fighting only hours after the new York Times had called Zidane "a master of unparalled grace?''
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
As insults go, don't try to compare it to any of Ozzie Guillen's top 100 tirades, because "I do not like your Mama'' pales in comparison to a Gullien insult on his least profane day.
Consider it this way instead: His decision to head-butt Materazzi was the difference between Sonny Corleone and Michael Corleone.
Sonny would have gone with the head-butt. Michael, on the other hand, would have just dropped off a horse head in his bed in a few weeks. But commit a sporting crime with a stadium full of witnesses who could finger him standing right there? No way, Francois.
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