The strange case of l’affaire Zidane

Mick Hume in Spiked:

_41882168_zinedinezidane203In the week since Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final, l’affaire Zidane appears to have taken over the world (especially the media world). It was certainly a jaw-dropping moment. But still, it was only a flare-up in a football match – and a bloodless one at that, with the other big shock being, as Duleep Allirajah argues elsewhere on spiked, that he bizarrely butted the Italian in the chest. (Zidane is clearly not the player he once was – last time he butted an opponent, the German player in question ended up with a fractured cheekbone and concussion.) Nobody was killed, as Boris Becker once reminded the hysterical press corps after losing a Wimbledon final. In normal times the storm should have subsidised soon enough, or at least retreated to the sports section of the media.

But these are not ‘normal’ times for news. If anything the story and the heated debates about what Zidane did and why have grown in intensity since the actual event, to the point where his Wednesday press conference was reported as if it were a presidential statement on the declaration of war or peace. Indeed, it has completely overshadowed the actual French President’s traditional Bastille Day address on Friday.

More here.