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Every now and then a sporting figure has the gall to anger the Sports Karma Gods, and whenever they do, retribution is akin in experience to watching Kevin ‘Skillachio’ Kilbane play football. Messy and painful.
You need look no further than the New York Jets in the NFL for a recent example of players and coaches angering the Sports Karma Gods. The Jets played New England earlier in the season, and whipped themselves into a crazed frenzy, declaring the game ‘our Superbowl’. Well, be careful what you wish for. The Jets won that game, and haven’t won since, their decline in the AFC East only slightly faster than Rex Ryan’s reputation as a decent coach.
On Saturday night in Dublin the Irish soccer team cruelly lost their World Cup first leg qualifier 0-1 to a pretty mundane French side. Ireland, lacking any creativity whatsoever in midfield, struggled to create chances. They did give 100% commitment though, and were unlucky to lose to a deflected goal. After the match Keith Andrews, who quite literally ran his socks off, watched as France’s Lassana Diarra approached. Andrews has said he was expecting Diarra to shake hands and perhaps say, ‘hard luck’.
Instead, Diarra challenged the Sports Karma Gods and perhaps gave Ireland an extra little bit of juice for the engine come the second leg in Paris on Wednesday night. Diarra made a disparaging comment in front of several Irish players and caused a pretty heated melee that left a bitter taste in the mouths of many in the Irish squad.
Andrews comments after the event were measured but potentially revealing.
‘’ I was hunkered down a little bit when the final whistle went and I saw him walking towards me and I thought he was going to shake my hand. But he made a remark and I lost my head a little bit. You don't expect that from a fellow professional. It's a massive two-legged tie, only halfway finished, so for someone to come out like that and say something was bitterly disappointing. But our lads are aware of it and we'll see what happens on Wednesday."
So far nobody knows exactly what Diarra said. It would appear from the vague comments coming from the Irish camp that it was perhaps racist in content. Trappatoni, Ireland’s manager, had this to say;
‘’It was an insult to the Irish people. I cannot say the sentence, it's very bad. You cannot insult all the people."
Diarra would appear to now be denying everything, however with several of the Irish players and indeed the Irish manager all providing the exact same story, it seems Diarra is backtracking as fast as he can realizing he may have gone too far.
One of the ironies of this is that Diarra had a terrible match. He appeared to be allergic to the ball, losing it with great frequency. He provided basically nothing to the French side. He has, however, perhaps provided something of substance to the Irish team, a little extra motivation ahead of the massive clash Wednesday night in Paris.
The Sports Karma Gods will get the final say in this one. Diarra can only hope they will go easy on him.