Episode 57: Pride Month in Sport, men’s World Cup, and the entertainment at the Stanley Cup
There are two versions of this episode because this week’s interview is with veteran journalist Viviana Vila, the first woman to do in-match commentary in for a major network at the men’s World Cup. The interview was conducted in Spanish and then there is a version where Ana Julia Ramírez provides the English translation of Vila’s comments.
It’s LGBTQ Pride month! Lindsay and Brenda discuss the place of pride events in sports, the decision of soccer player Jaelene Hinkel not to play for the national team because she refused to wear a pride jersey, and homophobia at the L.A. Galaxy pride night. They talk about whether it’s possible to watch the men’s World Cup 2018 given the sexism, homophobia, and racism without feeling terrible and talk their favorite storylines so far. Brenda sat down and interviewed veteran journalist Viviana Vila, the first woman to do in-match commentary in for a major network. The voice is of Ana Julia Ramírez, Argentine professor.
Intro (4:59) Pride Month in Sport (25:52) Interview Viviana Vila (32:45) Men’s World Cup 2018 discussion (41:59) Burn Pile (59:06) Bad Ass Woman of the Week (1:04:12) What’s Good (1:08:03) Outro
For links and a transcript…
“Jaelene Hinkle Turned Down USWNT Call-Up Because She Didn’t Want To Wear LGBTQ Pride Jersey” https://deadspin.com/jaelene-hinkle-turned-down-uswnt-call-up-because-she-di-1826456909
“Soccer Fans Ruin L.A. Galaxy’s Pride Night by Shouting Homophobic Slur” https://www.advocate.com/sports/2018/5/31/soccer-fans-ruin-la-galaxys-pride-night-shouting-homophobic-slur
“NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB & WNBA all marching as leagues in NYC Pride March” https://www.outsports.com/2018/6/1/17389274/nyc-pride-march-nfl-nba-nhl-mlb-wnba-lgbtq-athletes
“Majority of MLS, NWSL teams to hold LGBT Pride games” https://www.outsports.com/2018/5/21/17366998/mls-nwsl-2018-lgbt-pride-nights
“Will FIFA Force Russia to Make the World Cup Friendly to L.G.B.T. People?” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/opinion/fifa-world-cup-russia-lgbtq.html
“Mexicans urged to chant ‘Putin’ instead of gay slur ‘puto’ at Russia World Cup” https://www.outsports.com/2018/5/30/17399376/2018-world-cup-russia-mexico-gay-slur
“The ‘Real Serena’ Emerges and Roars Back at the French Open” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/sports/serena-williams-french-open.html
“Racist, anti-gay chants on rise in Russia ahead of World Cup” https://www.apnews.com/4d6ce4e52e044a6cb89fe1373d6af68d/Racist,-anti-gay-chants-on-rise-in-Russia-ahead-of-World-Cup
“The World Cup for Forgotten Nations” https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/the-world-cup-for-forgotten-nations/amp
“U.S. Marshals Serve Ex-Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon With Subpoena” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/sports/lou-anna-simon.html
Spanish interview below
Brenda: Welcome to this week of Burn It All Down. It may not be the feminist sports podcast you want, but it’s the feminist sports podcast you need. I’m Brenda Elsey associate professor of history at Hofstra University coming at you from Buenos Aires, Argentina. If I’m going to say Buenos Aires, I should say Argentina correctly. And I’m joined by the brilliant wordsmith at ThinkProgress, Lindsay Gibbs who is in Washington DC. This week Lindsay and I, it’s sort of our ritual, it’s our second annual pride party episode in a sense. We’re going to talk some pride sports, but we’re also going to look at the World Cup. I’m wondering if we can watch it as a feminist at all. And I interview Viviana Vila, the first woman to give in match commentary for a major channel, along with Ally Wagner I should say.
And, of course, we’ll have our burn pile and our badass women of the week. Before we get started Linds, are you watching the NHL playoffs?
Lindsay: The Stanley Cup finals are here and I have overnight become a Washington Capitals fan because I’ve lived in DC for her almost three years now, so it’s about time. And they’re up 2-1 over Vegas and I was at a bar watching it last night, it was a lot of fun. But I have to say my favorite thing so far has to be that, I don’t know if you’ve been watching Brenda, but Vegas, it’s their first year as a team. And they’ve come on to the scene being known for their pregame entertainment because, of course, it’s Vegas. They’re having all the top music acts performing before shows, they’re having these light shows that feel like you’re watching sword fighting and things. And they have the wrestling announcers calling the names of the players. The Stanley Cup started in Vegas for two games with that, just all-out rock and roll, current entertainment, fun.
And then we come to DC, and DC is in the NHL like, “Oh, my gosh, well, what are we going to do in DC?” The answer Brenda was that yesterday before game three outside the National Portrait Gallery, which is right beside the Capital One Arena. Right outside the National Portrait Gallery, you had a Sting and Shaggy concert.
Lindsay: Yeah. A Sting and Shaggy concert because Sting and Shaggy recently released an island inspired collaborative album.
Brenda: I had no idea, where have I been?
Lindsay: Neither did I. And guess who’s performing before game four?
Lindsay: Almost even more current than Shaggy and Sting, Fall Out Boy. And then instead of having the big booming exciting come into the ring voice announcing the players and the lineups, DC’s answer to this was to have Pat Sajak a fortune game. And he called the names and they did the names like it was Wheel of Fortune-
Brenda: Did he spell them?
Lindsay: No, it was Wheel of Fortune theme, they put all the names up on a Wheel of Fortune show for it. It was just hysterical, I think all of DC is suddenly realizing that their celebrities are nerdy politicians that everyone hates and that we don’t have any current politicians. Look, it’s been pretty amusing. But Ovi scored a goal last night and Kuznetsov, and they won the game, they’re now up 2-1. And my favorite statistic in sports, which is that the Carolina Hurricanes have a Stanley Cup and the Capitals do not might not be true in about a week or so. We’ll have to see.
Brenda: Wow, that’s pretty Cirque de Soleil, exciting.
Lindsay: Cirque de Soleil presented by the US Senate.
Brenda: I now want to watch more though, you just made me want to watch it even more except I think that I’ll get to like the midst of Pat Sajak and change my mind very quickly.
Lindsay: Yeah, he’s not the best.
Brenda: No, he wasn’t even exciting on Wheel of Fortune, and that was 20 years ago. Without Vanna White, that thing would have just collapsed.
Lindsay: It’s all every true.
Brenda: She did all the work. Yeah, she did all the work. Moving on, we want to talk a little bit about pride in sports. Lindsay, you want to kick it off?
Lindsay: Yeah, obviously happy Pride Month to all of our LGBTQI listeners. We love you and … Yeah, we love you, that’s all I need to say. But first of all, I need to apologize if you hear a dog in the background, that’s my dog. He’s a little whiny today, but we press on here Burn It All Down, that’s what we do. Sometimes you just have to press on. But anyways, what really brought this to, in addition to it being Pride Month? This week, there was a really interesting story in the news. North Carolina Courage defender, Jaelene Hinkle gave an interview with the 700 Club. The 700 Club if you don’t know is the extremely, extremely conservative Christian network that likes to say that, oh, I don’t know, Hurricane Katrina was God punishing us for gay people and things like that. I don’t know if that’s the exact thing, but they say things like that all the time.
Lindsay: Jaelene Hinkle decided to give an interview to the 700 Club to finally talk publicly about why she decided to leave the US Women’s National Team last June. Last June, Hinkle got called up to the Women’s National Team for friendlies and she never was on the roster though. And they said it was for personal reasons. A lot of people suspected that it was because it was Pride Month and during Pride Month, the team had to wear rainbow color jerseys or jerseys with rainbow lettering to support the LGBTQ community. And Hinkle has been very open about the fact that she’s extremely Christian and was not in support of the Supreme Court making marriage equality legal and has not been a friend to the LGBTQ community. But she had never spoken publicly about this. She did give this interview to the 700 Club where she literally said that the reason she didn’t do this was because she felt that God would not want her to wear a pride jersey.
Her quote was, “I felt so convicted in my spirit that it was not my job to wear this jersey. And I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what he was asking me to do in this situation.” The entire interview painted her as a martyr of sorts, that she was sacrificing for her beliefs. She gave up the opportunity to play for her country in order to not go against her religious principles. There’s a lot of devil’s advocates to use that phrase in a pretty ironic way out there who are saying that this is somewhat noble of her, but you could maybe respect her sticking to her religious guns. But I think there’s a lot more people myself included who just are incredibly disappointed and frustrated by this especially her decision to go on the 700 Club, such a fear-mongering, hate-mongering organization to give this interview and to talk publicly about this decision.
It’s one thing to do it quietly like she actually did last summer and to just kind of step back. And I could even though I very vehemently disagree with why she did this and I think it’s bigoted and hateful, if she keeps quiet about it and really does work to keep it under the radar, that’s one thing. But giving the interview to the 700 Club just for me takes it to an entirely different direction. And I think it’s worth discussing Brenda what do we think about what Hinkle is saying and what does this mean about where Pride Months in sports kind of are fitting into our current push for equality and for respect for the still incredibly marginalized LGBTQ community.
Brenda: Yeah, it’s so interesting. I really love your point about the venue that she chose to give the interview because there are many soccer outlets, there are many seasoned journalists who work on issues of ethics in sport especially given how we’ve been now for years with the Colin Kaepernick case. There are other people who could have done the story in a way that would not be a propaganda piece for exactly a hateful bigoted network. It’s complicated because that decision is not unimportant. And I don’t know if people have seen it, but it’s a heroic video. It’s got this music and her hair blowing in the wind as she asks God what if she should wear the shirt or not. And I hope God is too busy, I really do.
Lindsay: He’s 100% too busy. And he would also be like, “It’s a jersey.”
Brenda: She Linds! She’s got to be busy. Yeah, it’s a jersey. The team was not asking her to do something that would compromise her own sexuality in any way or her own beliefs, it’s simply a jersey with some colors on a number. I understand the symbolic value, and that’s important, but I do think it’s like, wow, isn’t your Christian belief also about your teammates being protected from violence against them on a daily basis? Doesn’t your Christianity include that? I don’t know, that was really difficult. But the 700 Club piece if we’re just going to stand there, people should watch it if they have questions about what it looks like to make a propaganda piece for a right-wing outlet. She doesn’t have that storied of a career as a soccer player.
The first thing is the 700 Club makes it look like it’s the biggest blow to sports of all time that she didn’t play a call up. And then it’s just like, “Oh, look at me how I don’t wear a jersey.” I don’t know. And who knows if she was consulted on it, if she had any editorial input into it. But it is a pretty disgusting thing to watch it being made into a heroic story to be homophobic.
Lindsay: Yeah, it’s mind boggling that there’s no … It’s not mind boggling because it’s the 700 Club and it’s exactly what I would expect for the 700 Club. But it’s so frustrating to watch a piece like this that doesn’t work at all to put this in context. And like you said, there were other options too if she was really wanting to have a conversation about this. And there are outlets to go to that she could have put this in context. I think that there is a way maybe to put this in context without it being a hit piece on her. But this wasn’t the way to do it, I think the way that she did it was so insulting. And I wrote about this with ThinkProgress, you can’t separate women’s soccer from the LGBTQ community, you just can’t.
And it’s a big part of a lot of the players are and a lot of the fans are. These are the people who are with her on the field every day, these are the people who are paying the money that allow her to be a professional athlete, that allow her to play for her country or to get that opportunity. And we’re asking you to acknowledge their humanity. We’re not asking you to stand up in front of a PSA and say, “I condone this and support this and think what you’re doing is 100% the way God wanted you to do it.” That’s not what we’re asking you to do. We’re asking you to wear a jersey that acknowledges their humanity and their marginalization and the fact that they need a little support. And if you can’t do that, then I really don’t have any patience. One of our friends of this show Stephanie Yang wrote an article talking to the North Carolina Courage fans who were struggling with this.
They love the team, they support the team. I was actually at a North Carolina Courage game last year and went to talk to a group of their supporters who had a huge rainbow flag out like they do at every single soccer match they usually see and they keep that rainbow flag out in the stands for the men’s games and the women’s games and really want to show the solidarity between the soccer community and the LGBTQ community. And it makes it really hard when you don’t want to stop loving your team because of one person, but when your team is allowing this 700 Club interview to be filmed, it was done at the facility, it was done in the press box, which I recognize because I’ve been there before. And the team is standing behind her, which I do understand from a logistical standpoint. But I don’t know, it puts the fans in such a horrible place.
And it’s just really important to remember that Jaelene Hinkle is not the victim here, and she is not the martyr here. And any blowback she receives from this as long as it doesn’t cross into physical violence or death threats or anything like that, but any blowback that she gets is deserved. That’s part of the free-speech thing, that’s part of this is you get to say what you believe and then others get to counter that.
Brenda: Yeah. Well, it’s been suggested on this show a couple of times that I be made the commissioner of the NWSS I think, and I would like to trade her to the pride. And that’s my solution to it, what will she do then if she’s in Orlando?
Lindsay: I don’t know, but it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens because she’s a good player, but she’s not a franchise player. And these players do get traded around a lot. There was a game in Portland this week, which I know some flame throwers were there for. And the Portland fans booed her very strongly.
Brenda: Oh, I didn’t hear that. Okay, that’s interesting.
Lindsay: They had posters that said personal reasons and things like that. Apparently, she was really upset in the locker room afterwards. But once again, I don’t feel sorry for her for that. Like I said, I’m not condoning violence or death threats or anything. And we know that often these situations can escalate to that. But people have a right to be upset that she believes this, and that she believes this so firmly that she would paint herself as a martyr.
Brenda: Well, she is a young woman and we can hope that some of this will be a learning experience about the community in which she moves and about the teammates that she has seems pretty ill-timed and a poor strategy to decide to take that stance. The people who have helped you your whole life, the people who help you on the field, off the field and you denying them equal treatment under the law and in the eyes of who you think is the all powerful being. It’s hurtful to her teammates I’m sure. And I’m sorry she got upset in the locker room or whatever, but I’m kind of like you, I don’t have patience for it either at this point. There is some interesting thing that maybe we could talk about in terms of pride nights too that we don’t often get a chance to. Just this past week, June 2nd the US men’s national soccer team played the Republic of Ireland in a friendly in rainbow numbered jerseys in honor of Pride.
I was watching it, and it struck me though nobody is out from the men’s game. That’s a thing, that’s such a thing to think about. These are such important events, but it’s also really strange for me to look at global men’s soccer and I know that there’s so much homophobia in the stands, in the locker rooms, on the pitch and then to see pride nights at the same time as I recognize there’s not a single out male player. Robbie Rogers was, but not an active player.
Lindsay: I think it’s really tough because obviously men’s sports are still way behind the curve and you’ve just recently seen women’s sports are making progress. But it wasn’t so long ago that it was a huge deal for a female athlete still to come out. Men’s sports, there has not been a wave since Michael Sam and Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers came out. There hasn’t been a wave, they’re still the trailblazers. But I think it’s important if only for fans because like we mentioned, I know that the queer community is not just fans of women’s soccer but men’s soccer as well. I think it’s an important statement to make. I know a lot of people in the LGBTQ community who love to see these displays, I also know a lot who feel that they’re empty because there is so much homophobia and because these statements have become so corporatized.
I know that there’s mixed feelings when it comes to the rainbow jerseys and the Pride nights. I don’t want to be the one making the decision whether it’s good or bad or whether everyone should like it or not, I think that there’s room for all these mixed feelings within this. I would rather teams wear them than not as long as they’re coupled with actually taking steps forward and stepping up, standing up for what you believe. Interestingly enough, this year, the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and the WNBA who’s done this before are all marching as leagues in New York City Pride March later this month, which is a really big deal. It’s the first time ever that the NFL and the Major League Baseball have done this. And once again, Brenda, it’s like what you said, well, there’s no really out players. But I can’t help but feel it’s still a good step that these leagues are doing this.
Brenda: Oh, yeah, I do too. I agree completely and I love to see the events and I love to see the people who participate in them. And it does change the climate, I know it does change the climate if you’re in the stadium on a Pride night probably thought we can talk about the LA Galaxy game what happened. But in any case, I can see the benefits seem pretty obvious, I don’t see any step backwards by wearing it unless it’s closing off conversations or more serious conversations about homophobia in some of these sports, in particular, we’re talking about men’s soccer, which is just startling to me because of the numbers of men’s players around the world. It’s just every single time I’m looking at the World Cup, and we’ll talk about the World Cup in a minute, we can talk about Russia. But thinking about this, it’s just like, what is going on and how are these questions?
And hopefully, I think these Pride nights might start to provoke that like, okay, this is good, we’ve started the conversation. Now, let’s deepen the conversation and talk about what barriers still exist to people feeling safe enough to be fully accepted as out people.
Lindsay: And I think that’s a really good point that you made because what you don’t want people to be doing and you don’t want these leaks to be doing is using this as a mask, using this is as the my black friend of the LGBTQ conversation and saying, “Well, we’re not homophobic as a league, we marched in the Pride Parade.” And that’s what you don’t want to see. You want to see this as a start to real conversations and as a legitimate show of support. And I know the NFL I read in out sports that they are going to have a float in the March that’s dedicated to the player. I’m sorry, I’m looking for his name right now because I am totally blanking on it. Ryan O’Callahan who we talked about before is a former NFL player who came out publicly in out sports last week. They will have a float in the parade that features Ryan, that’s what the NFL is doing. And the NFL is also sending San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers who is not only a female coach in the NFL, but an openly LGBTQ coach in the NFL.
She will be also involved in that parade. Those are two good steps I think for the league, but there’s a long, long way to go. Brenda, what happened, I wasn’t paying super close attention, what happened earlier this week at the LA Galaxy Pride night?
Brenda: Oh, it’s really a sad thing with LA galaxy’s Pride nights. They were playing against FC Dallas. And basically, the P_ chant, which again we can talk about when we get to the World Cup a little bit and it’s relationship with some of these politics. The P chant is the homophobic slur that comes from Mexico originally, but has become popularized by fans around the world. Today, if you go to a game with almost any Spanish-speaking population, that’s what they’re going to go to. The Advocate had a good article on it, basically the soccer fans said it every time. There’s a time in the game when they used that chant and it’s during a free-kick and the goalkeeper is defending and that’s who they yell it at. And it’s so upsetting to see it and then to see it ruin the Pride night. That’s what happened.
And it’s frustrating because that chant, it’s not like some … Okay, and I don’t think it would be better if it was 100 years old or anything. I’m not saying that, it sucks either way. But it’s not old, it’s a new tradition. It’s something that was used in domestic leagues in Mexico in recent years and then basically got exported. It’s distressing to see its rise in popularity in my own lifetime.
Lindsay: Yeah. That’s certainly not a step forward and not progress. I think it’s so frustrating to see that, that’s obviously awful. And then it’s awful to see teams purposely not show a Pride night. Once again, I have to give a call out, not shout out, but call out to the Washington Spirit, the women’s soccer team here who once again is not holding a Pride night. They’re the only I believe, the only National Women’s Soccer League team not to hold a Pride night. And they’ve never held an official Pride night. I thought that they were going to change that this year, Last year, I actually wrote a story for ThinkProgress on the fact that they have never held a pride night. Megan Rapinoe famously accused the owner of the team, Bill Lynch of being homophobic after he chose to not allow her to protest during the national anthem when she came here with the Seattle rain at the end of 2016.
I think that it’s just so frustrating to see team’s, Pride night seems like the easiest thing to do. You just do this and it’s good. Now, luckily the Washington Spirit fan club, the spirit squadron hold their own Pride night. And the team actually does publicize that a little bit, which is a nice, I guess a nice thing although it’d be much better if they would actually endorse their own Pride night. But I love that these women’s soccer fans just stand up where ownership doesn’t. But look, there’s progress being made, but everyone especially allies have to keep pushing to make sure that this progress isn’t empty shows of solidarity and aren’t cover-ups for the actual homophobia that’s beneath the surface.
Brenda: This week, I sat down with veteran Argentine journalist Viviana Vila. She is the first woman to call matches in a Men’s World Cup for a major Network. She’s going to be on Telemundo, which will reach an enormous number of people around the Americas and the world because it goes all over the world. And she had some really interesting things to say about the obstacles that exist for women and how not to internalize when men try to take you down today.
Today, we have with us Viviana Vila. Thank you for being on Burn It All Down.
Viviana Vila: Thank you and good afternoon.
Brenda: You are the first woman along with Ally Wagner to be an in match commentator for the men’s world cup, how do you feel hearing that?
Viviana: I feel really affected, it’s very strong, very big, very global. I did not feel that way when Telemundo called me out for the job. I had not really taken note of it of being the first Spanish-speaking woman that would comment. And I had not taken into account that aspect when it presented to me in that way, pierced me with that sense of responsibility, a lot of responsibility. But I am very happy and grateful because not everyone looks to a woman, not everyone takes a risk. And the truth is that Telemundo and Telemundo Deportes has behaved marvelously well and has generously called me. It’s not typical that you’re respected as much as they have respected me. And that is why I need to respond and answer for my history and the trust they have placed in me.
Brenda: How do you prepare for such an event?
Viviana: Studying. I read, I study, I take notes on every country, every team because the information is not just sitting there but also there’s always something new. I don’t feel I have the time to study everything because I have to comment on many matches because for me also, all of this is new. It mixes two things, on the one hand, and analysis of the match that is what I’m going to be doing and that’s going to be happening live. What happens and what takes place will have taken place and that’s what I will have to talk about. I hope I measure up to the circumstances. And on the other hand is the previous of the games, it’s the lead up to how the state of the teams, how they prepare, what their road to Russia was like in the qualifying rounds. I try to read all of that. Beyond that, something very nice will happen but also something very new, that is working with another commentarist that I haven’t met. I am going to have to begin to work with in sync and establishing a rapport with him.
Brenda: Who is he?
Viviana: I am going to call all the games with Erasmo Provenza. And I will do two matches with Copan Alvarez. Copan, I know, a charmer, he seems great. We did a trial match and it came out very well. And Erasmo, I am going to meet in person in Moscow. And we’ll have to work right away with him and that will be a totally new experience.
Brenda: What is the first match?
Viviana: Croatia, Nigeria.
Brenda: Croatia, Nigeria.
Viviana: Yes, the 16th, the same day that Argentina play. After I call the Croatia, Nigeria game and after, there’s a different match every day.
Brenda: You have worked almost 20 years as a journalist, did you always want to focus on sports?
Viviana: In the first years of my career, no, I did a lot of radio and commercials, animation and event hosting. All that on radio, also I managed production of events and later general journalism not only sports, The first major sports events I did were about 17 years ago. It’s a lifetime, yes, on television and in radio, it’s been about 17 or 18 years.
Brenda: What are the challenges of a woman sports journalist in Argentina?
Viviana: Well, there are many and there are very intense. There’s a lot of joy, but many, many obstacles too. The biggest obstacle is when a woman opines, when she makes a judgment, when a woman says what she thinks about a sport that was almost always for men. And that is so difficult to break into. That’s the first and primary obstacle. When we give an opinion because we are just explaining something happening, men will be more forgiving to us. When women analyze, that’s the first weapon where there is the biggest filter and when there is a big magnifying glass on us. They tell us, “From where do you have that opinion? What do you know? Why?” They don’t look to you, they don’t choose you for jobs.
Brenda: Do you remember an opinion that you gave that caused that reaction?
Viviana: It’s not one in particular, it’s not one phrase, but many times I remember before a play, a penalty, an offside what you will. Once I thought one thing and the social media treated me brutally. They treated me as if I didn’t deserve to be in the place I was, how could they waste money on my salary, I didn’t deserve to be there, I had no idea of anything. I’d say, but they chose me for the job, what is the cruelty that they treat me like this? It was devastating. At first, it was very strong and hit me hard. After I began to take it with a bit of more calm and said, “Okay, that’s their opinion, I do my job with dignity, I don’t want money from anyone. I don’t ask anyone for anything.” I try to go through life in the most dignified manner, it’s not a sacrifice for me. There are people who find it difficult to be dignified and it was never difficult for me. There are many men offended by my presence and the presence of many other women. Basically, it is when I analyze.If I only reported, it would have been easier. The opinion is what generates so much rejection from them. There’s no so much questioning, but a lot of ridicule.
Brenda: Do you think these things are changing?
Viviana: Little by little, but too little. I’ll also tell you what I think, I’m sure that those men who don’t like the work I do, that we do us women, they continue thinking the same way. But they watch themselves more now, they take care a little more because there is this imprint of a strong woman collective saying, here we are, it’s our moment.
Brenda: Of course.
Viviana: Many guard ruthless criticism, but it does not mean that they think differently. But in that case, I also arrived at the conclusion that they do not have to like us or accept what I think. What we cannot accept is abuse, is the harassment, it is a world that tries to denigrate you as a woman and as a worker. I don’t accept that. Then if you don’t like what I do, fine, but I don’t like what a man does sometimes, but that does not mean I mistreat the man. I just do not listen to it in such a case. But since I’m going to, who am I not to allow to a job of a colleague would not do it anyway. They did a lot with me, that hurts. But what hurts make you stronger too.
Brenda: Well, you’ve done it well. Talking a bit about football, what are you hoping to see in this Men’s World Cup?
Viviana: The best World Cup for me would be one that I call well, that I would do my best. The best World Cup that I’m going to win is if I can analyze really well the matches. After that, I hope to see every interesting play, I hope to see teams that surprise me. I hope to see a cup with a lot of color, with a lot of festivity and not of violence. I hope to see a cup well organized, and I’m counting on it being that way. Besides that, from a footballistic perspective, surely football is wonderful because it’s surprising. I can say for certain that I am going to predict that many of the teams that are on the podium will be the best. But the World Cup always holds some surprises. I would like there to be surprises, that everything is clear from the beginning that it’s not the same ones winning always, that it’s not the same three giving life to the party. Hopefully, the cab reserved something for them to say, “Whoa, look at you, look at how good this is.”
Brenda: Are there any players we should be thinking about, looking at differently?
Viviana: Look at the situation we are in Argentina, the case of Messi, everyone thinks that Messi deserves a World Cup. Many of them hoping that if Messi is the best in the world, but he never has won a World Cup. Then the expectation is focused on what will happen with Messi, what will happen with Cristiano, what will happen? Well, we should hope that Salah recuperates and Egypt will have a really good cup for the story of that young man deserves it. He is really young at 25 and such a shame what has happened with his shoulder. But they are right to trust he’ll be there. When I talk about Germany, I talk about all Germany because it is a wonderful system of play so compact. Germany is always Germany and Germany always wins. Also, I think Neymar will lead to whole Brazilian show. I think also the Colombia is going to have a great cup with Falcao and James Rodriguez. The expectation of Peru with or without Paolo is really different. I’m talking about Guerrero.
I’m talking a lot about the Americans, but because I think that Uruguay has also sentries expectations on the genius front man Suarez and Cavani. After that, for example, I think we can’t count France as a first candidate, but I think of Griezmann, I think of Giroud. I think that if the French coach has all the lights and players as well. They have interesting men in each line to make a great run in the tournament. Of course, there is Spain, which is good to be a player as well. Spain is Spain, and they have their players. They have that Iniesta who is marvel. I am also naming the great figures of a great cup of great teams. And I think the cup will happen that way.
Brenda: Only seven Argentine players are returning from the 2014 team, does the team have an identity apart from Messi beyond Messi’s shadow?
Viviana: No, no.
Brenda: That’s a long answer.
Viviana: Argentina has great players, but they still haven’t realized that a team is something different. And I hope that that team shows up. I want so much for that to happen. I trust in Sampaoli, I think he’s a more intelligent coach than he’s been able to demonstrate here. I think he has much more to show us. The truth is that he has shown us very little, but I think he has much more as a coach than he has shown. In the same way, I think other players are more. Higuain is an immense goalscorer, and in the national team has not worked as such like that in men’s goalscorer. True to be told, I think there is a team that has not yet appeared. Depending on the players, that team will have to appear. But I also understand that there are a few World Cup matches until the final, there are seven games, nothing more. That’s why when you asked me, I say resounding no because today’s Spain is a team, German is a team, Brazil is a team. Today, Argentina arrived with, well, already without the goalkeeper.
I don’t know what that team will be, I don’t know the names. But how is that team going to behave on pitch, I still have very doubts. Yes, this is true that there is an internal fire with Argentina by itself, but already the rhetoric that we are a minor team waits on us because it has been a long time since we’ve been really important. And that makes it difficult in practice. I cannot repeat this for very small teams, Argentina is not a small team. Argentina is a big team, and to be at the head of that greatness, we need things that I have not seen in this team at this point.
Brenda: Well, I hope they will have more identity when the tournament is on.
Viviana: Yes, of course. But let’s see what’s so good about Argentina. It has everything to have a strong identity, make a good World Cup, reach the final. In 2014, Argentina should have been world champion, lost the last one that could have won an immense technical great player and reached the final. It’s not a small thing to reach the final of a World Cup, didn’t win, but they reached the final. There are teams that don’t have the players, the teams to get there, Argentina has. No, nothing is certain, absolutely nothing. But the good thing about football is the wonder of surprise, the unthinkable that occurs minute to minute, intelligent of its player and of its coaches. Many times, the pre analysis don’t help anything because the reality shows us something else happens. Because of that, every time I do matches previous, they have to be shorter because sometimes after so much preparation, bye-bye.
There are times when you arrive in the middle of the fray and you stop because of the difficulty, because of the urgency, because of the desire to demonstrate everything, but it all changes in 90 minutes that a coach finally shows he was at the height of his power. If Argentina returned to its previous forms, it won’t in my view be a normal surprise. I think the good makes a good run at the World Cup.
Brenda: Viviana Vila, we want to thank you for your time and our best wishes for your trip to Russia.
Viviana: Thank you Brenda. And I want to say once more that I’m immensely happy that a woman is getting to this point. It doesn’t matter if that is me. If now it’s a woman or two or three, tomorrow, that’s five that we arrived at this place, that tomorrow a woman narrates a match. That still has not happened, it is going to have a road full of thorns and obstacles. But if I manage to do it, it’s going to be a such a wonderful thing. I’m very happy because I never worked for a North American chain, it picked me and treated me to thousand wonders. I want to put all my effort as I always put it to make a great world cup hopefully. This is how we see ourselves in the end and I will tell you yes, it was a great World Cup.
Brenda: The 2018 World Cup in Russia is just about a week and a half away. And there’s news and news and more news about it. Before we even get to some of my favorite storylines, and I’ve got them, I want to talk a little bit with you Linds about how can we even consume and watch these mega event spectacles that we know are so terrible politically. I know we have this question a lot, but it seems like the World Cup is kind of the king of that question, the Men’s World Cup especially Russia. In 2013, Putin signed into law a measure that stigmatized gay people and banned giving any information about homosexuality to children. They have fines for Pride night. Speaking of Pride nights, you can run a really big fine if you try to have one in Russia and yet here we are having this really global game with a lot of teams that do wear pride jerseys in a place that has proven to not defend human rights of gay people nor of ethnic minorities, of women, Pussy Riot. How do we deal with this? Lindsay, do you have a kind of strategy going into this?
Lindsay: We talk about this a lot surrounding the Olympics and honestly surrounding the NFL and surrounding so many things that we love. I think my answer is always that it’s okay to enjoy it, it’s not okay to ignore the realities that are going on and that somehow you have to figure out a way to do both and you have to keep calling out the injustices that you see. and maybe that’s a cop-out for me, maybe the answer is I should turn all this off and walk the other direction. But realistically, that’s the way I’ve been able to as a feminist, as someone who wants to push forward and wants to make all these places better for everyone in the end because I do see incredible power in sports. And sports aren’t leaving, sports aren’t going anywhere especially something as global and as powerful as soccer in the men’s game, of course, right now is probably the most popular sport in the world.
Brenda: Oh, it is definitely.
Lindsay: It’s my America showing. Sorry, I’m still having Trinidad and Tobago flashbacks. I’m trying to. It’s really brutal. That’s my answer, is that cheesy to say that we can enjoy it and we can watch it, but we can’t look the other way at this bad stuff that’s happening? And we need to keep living in that uncomfortable space, not 24/7, but at least maybe 20/6, 20 hours a day, six days a week. Let’s the majority of the time that we’re watching this stuff and talking about it make sure that these conversations include these horrible realities that exist.
Brenda: The thing for me, it does get really uncomfortable because there are many storylines in a Men’s World Cup that you just simply don’t get in other venues, just the sheer number of people that tuned in. It’s used by psychologists, by scientists to actually study human behavior because it’s such a sample, it’s the largest sample in the world of any event, any event, will be watched more than any event, period. To not participate in it is tough because I am engaged with the world and I do think that loving global soccer does have something about rejecting US provincialism. It is, there’s something that’s like fuck the NFL, I’m going to do something different. In the US, it’s a little different of an identity. Even the US men’s team actually came out pretty strongly against Trump’s statements about Mexico and the wall more than any other league. There’s reasons that warm the heart here and there in soccer.
And I don’t know, but it’s such a, oh, it’s such a spectacle and it’s so got you wrapped up in it because … I followed some of these players for 12 years, 13 years and so you feel like, “Oh, I remember when they won that match, I was pregnant with my second child.” And it starts to mark your life in a way that’s really difficult to quit. I remember Howard Bryant who’s such a great journalist was saying this is the first year he didn’t watch the NFL. And I was like, “Whoa, should I do a Howard Bryant here. I am very divided, very divided on the whole situation. Are you going to be writing some things for ThinkProgress?
Lindsay: Yeah, about the World Cup, absolutely. I think, yeah, we’re going to be looking at it. Look, the World Cup, like you said, it’s such an interesting lens to view a lot of the world through because not only are you seeing so many people in one space and you’re seeing the good and the bad that that brings out, but you’re also seeing these countries facing off, that it’s just fascinating to see these two countries, two cultures on the same pitch. There’s going to be a lot of stuff on ThinkProgress over the coming weeks. But I think a lot of this and a lot of the discomfort here comes back to FIFA, which is we’ve talked about FIFA almost ad nauseum on this show. But I was reading a great piece, and I know that this goes back to our previous discussion little bit about pride, but from Minky Worden of the Human Rights Watch was writing in The New York Times opinion section this week about how FIFA really needs to step up when it comes to LGBTQ rights in particular.
In 2015, FIFA did agree to require minimum human rights standards for countries and that included zero tolerance for discrimination based on sexual orientation. And yet, they have not really been standing out and speaking out against Russia’s discriminatory anti-gay propaganda law that was adopted right before the Sochi Olympics. And they very much are being kind of complicit in this and Minky has a great piece that just says, look, FIFA is at best turning a blind eye to such homophobia. FIFA needs to say publicly to Russia that it expects a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ people at the World Cup and it needs to make clear that the country will be responsible for conveying this message. And she adds that if FIFA is not able to enforce its rules, the top sponsors need to step up, just Coca-Cola, Adidas, McDonald’s, and Visa.
Brenda: But Minky, Minky really hinging your hopes on FIFA, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s? Come on. With all respect to her and the work that she does, and the work that Human Rights Watch does, with a ton of respect, I have to say that’s probably not the answer.
Lindsay: But isn’t that depressing because you read and you’re like, “It’s so simple if they would do this, that would take care, that would solve so many problems.”
Brenda: It would. And yet, they awarded the next World Cup to Qatar where homosexuality is not legal. I simply don’t see the track record of human rights from FIFA who has supported every dictatorship that ever existed in Latin America including Mussolini. Not even Latin America, all the way to today where they will bend any rule that they have in order to please the host countries. I love Minky’s article because it breaks down and you’re so right to cite it because it really breaks down a lot of the ways in which FIFA demands things of the states and their relationships and how exploited it is of public resources, the World Cup. But I got to the end, and I was sort of like, “FIFA, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola human rights record. If that’s who we’re depending on, we are so screwed.”
Lindsay: Yeah. There are organizations on the ground who are working a little bit. Brenda, I’m going to flip the tables and kind of interview you about this because I know you’re the host today. But I know you know more about FARE than kind of anyone, they’re doing some work on the ground, right?
Brenda: Yeah. And FARE is Football Against Racism in Europe. And it started as a European response to rampant incidents of racism in European football especially violence against players on the pitch, monkey chants, I just let that sit because it’s so painful to even say. But that is the most common thing that they first started with. And then FARE started to expand a lot of its efforts, they have a scholarship program, they have a ton of monitoring systems. They try to do things, like they just launched, and we can put it in the show notes a diversity guide that offers specific guidance and safety advice for the LGBTQ community and ethnic minorities traveling to Russia. They have a diversity house and they have a WhatsApp emergency hotline. They’re really doing a ton monitoring, they’ve done a ton of work. And I know that Shireen has worked with them as well and and those of us who look for social justice changes in soccer definitely look to FARE as as leaders in this.
At the same time. their reports have been fairly distressing about the increase of racism and homophobia in chants in the lead-up to the cup. Even though FARE released a statement saying, well, overall incidents in the Russian Soccer League of homophobia are down and racism are down, that’s because what fans have started to do is stop using big posters and banners that can be seen easily and in instead starting unanimous chants. And that way, they cannot be particularly targeted, caught doing this.
Lindsay: Well, that solves everything.
Brenda: It sucks. It’s put on your thinking cap to how you could get away with hurting these athletes is really awful. And they do it to their own players, their goalkeeper I believe is Russian but born in Brazil or to a Brazilian mother. And he’s been a victim of it, it’s really painful to watch some of these reports that are coming out. And I think it’s really distressing given that it’s two weeks away. I really hope that we see it differently, but I don’t know, it’s not looking great.
Lindsay: It’s not looking great. Although I did see, and I didn’t read much about this, you probably know more about this than I do but that Mexican fans were instead of saying that word that they say that they were asked to say Putin instead.
Brenda: I was like, “Yes, there we go, there we go.”
Lindsay: That’s type of creativity I can get behind.
Brenda: Exactly. And just a nod to Shireen that the pronunciation of that in Spanish would be poutine, which sounds a lot like the French fries she tries to traffic in. I was like, “This is amazing.” And you know what happened, the ambassador made the company, it was a beer company because a lot of things come from beer companies in Mexico, a lot of bad things too. But in this case Victoria is the company I believe, and they had started it. And the ambassador made them apologize for it.
Lindsay: That’s amazing.
Brenda: And say, “No, we’re not going to do it because the Russian Prime Minister is too dignified to be made fun of.” Gay people and people of African descent can be made fun of at any time and women in Russia, but not him. It sucks a little bit that it was defeated because I totally love that. I also love Mexico, if we’re going to talk about some positive storylines, I love Mexico in general as a team. Grant Wahl for Sports Illustrated called the Mexican team the most popular soccer team in the United States because they fill most stadiums, most people tune in. Since the US can’t be in it, I’m loving some of the things coming out like that story and also Chicharito, Javier Hernandez who’s the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer and one of my favorite players who has led the campaign against the P champ. And he continues to do it, he’s got a great commercial where he tells fans come on. It’s like he puts his finger over his mouth and does shh.
And he was trying to get that I think to catch on, to do like a shh and make a loud sound or something but it hasn’t worked because homophobia is catchier I guess. I know, I know. Somebody just has to make quick jabs to a deal with it. But he’s really important because not only is he the all-time leading goalscorer for Mexico, but his father played in the 1986 World Cup for Mexico and his maternal grandfather played in the 1954 World Cup for Mexico. He is like soccer royalty. And I should say all those World Cups are Men’s World Cups and we cannot wait for the Women’s World Cup. I can specify what we mean there, but he’s like royalty so it’s great to see him leading this. I hope he can think of a way to do something on the field. The problem is that this is caught on as I said before beyond Mexico. The Argentines are doing, the Colombians are doing it. It’s contagion. And hopefully it stops.
Other good news this week is Salah is going to be healthy enough to play for Egypt, it appears.
Lindsay: I saw that.
Brenda: Yeah, that’s great, karma, I don’t know, whatever is. Will be great to see him and I fully expect Spain to be dealt a terrible hand by the universe in this World Cup given Ramos’s terrible takedown of him. Paolo Guerrero, I don’t know if you followed it, but he had actually tested positive for trace cocaine because of an indigenous tea in Peru, it’s based on the coca leaf. And he got a really shitty suspension and that now has been overturned. Both of them, two very important players, Guerrero the captain of Peru and Salah for Egypt are back in. That’s been kind of a nice story besides doesn’t everyone want to see the Viking clap, Iceland. That’s amazing. I want to see that although they play Argentina. I have very mixed feelings about that. I want to see the clap, but I want them to lose. It’s like, can you lose and do the clap at the same time, to teach the Argentines the clap so they stop the P chant?
Lindsay: Yeah. Dream big, dream big Brenda.
Brenda: I know, this is what I’m reduced to after conversations about that. Linds, did you read about just the only other thing going on is this other World Cup for Forgotten Nations, the CONIFA tourney. I don’t know if you saw that or not. We should just mention, it’s just a shout out and then we’ll have to move on that there is a tournament that’s been going on since 2013 for states that are not included in the FIFA. We’ll put it in the show notes because the New Yorker has a really good feature on it. And it’s worth checking out and thinking about who counts as a nation for FIFA and who doesn’t.
Lindsay: Oh, we’re not talking, it’s not like teams like America who didn’t make it in because they are horrible, it’s for countries that aren’t even recognized by FIFA?
Brenda: Exactly, or stateless states so to speak.
Lindsay: Wow, I can’t wait to read that. It sounds fascinating.
Brenda: Okay. Stay tuned for our World Cup, Men’s World Cup coverage. And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment, we like to call it the burn pile where we pile up all things we’ve hated this week in sports and set them aflame. Lindsay, since there’s no one else, I’ll start with you.
Lindsay: I love being the default option, it’s my favorite place. All right, we have a familiar face on the burn pile this week, former Michigan State University president Lou Anna K. Simon. Welcome back.
Brenda: Burn just already just even before you say it.
Lindsay: Last week, if you tuned it to last week, we talked about a congressional hearing that was run by the house that had the leaders of a lot of Olympic sports that was talking about sex abuse within Olympic sports. Well, next week on Tuesday, so the day you’re listening to this likely, the US Senate is holding a hearing that is for three people. And two of them are people who are huge enablers of Larry Nasser, which is former president of Michigan Sate, Lou Anna K. Simon as well as former USA Gymnastics president, Steve penny. I will be there, so stay tuned for coverage. We got a lot coming up over at ThinkProgress and we’ll probably have something here on the podcast as well. But anyways, United States Marshals had to serve Lou Anna K. Simon with a subpoena to compel her to testify before the subcommittee. Now, she originally had planned to come to the hearing on May 22nd that ended up being canceled at the last minute.
Her lawyer decided to complain because she lost all of her money when that hearing was canceled for she had already booked a hotel and a flight and they were unable to get refunds. And then he said, quote, “They set the next date without even asking her if there was an inconvenience. Now, they want her to come, but she’s on vacation,” the lawyer said. “They subpoena because we tell them that she can’t make it. Enough is enough, the fact of the matter is we were going to be there once already and lost everything.” What? You enabled the abuse of hundreds and hundreds of girls and women and some men, you don’t get to complain about anything. The salary that Lou Anna K. Simon is still receiving from Michigan State is, I don’t have it in front of me, but it’s a staggering number. She can afford to lose a hotel reservation. I just tossed this on the burn pile forever.
Brenda: Burn, burn.
My burn this week is complicated. As I so often find myself in situations that demand nuanced and yet are not being covered with any nuance, and that is indeed my burn. This week, one week before Argentina opens its World Cup against Iceland, they will play a friendly with Israel. And there has been a huge movement within Argentina because of what has recently happened in terms of protests on the part of Palestinians and the repression of those Palestinians who are protesting. There has been an effort here to try to convince the Argentine national team not to play the game. There is a huge Argentine community and there is a huge Jewish population, Israeli connection in Argentina as well. It’s become quite a thing to watch. And what drives me crazy about this is not politics in sports because I think politics are always, but instead is the way in which the people who are asking for the game to be suspended because of human rights abuses in Israel are being called anti-Semitic.
And then for those who say, “Look, boycotts are not the way to do this, there are different ways to change policy in Israel without boycotting people themselves and institutions who are doing a lot of good, maybe this isn’t a great thing,” are actually suffering from anti-Semitic abuse. It’s awful, it’s awful. I would just like to see some people try to look at this from a lens of human rights rather than their terrible convictions or stereotypes about Jewish people and the State of Israel and also the Islamophobia that has run rampant in this campaign. I want to burn the way that the media has portrayed both sides and really give some legitimacy to the solidarity movement because what has happened with the repression is serious and it’s right to ask Argentina to explain this.
Lindsay: Yeah, burn.
After all that burning, which wasn’t that much burning, it was a bit of burning, but we’ve been burning the whole episode. It’s time to celebrate some remarkable women in sports this week with our badass women of the week segment. Honorable mentions go to UCLA softball player Rachel Garcia who had 15 strikeouts. She is ESPNW’s player of the year, not surprisingly. Also, to amazing heroic mother efforts of Maria Vasquez who in response to the fact that her daughters could not find a sticker book for the Women’s La Liga sat down for what I believe to be many hours and constructed one made up of 16 teams with all 368 photos of players. Made it herself, and it’s gorgeous. Also, Alana Bruno the first woman to officiate at league level of Australian football at the SANFL. Finally, in honorable mentions, British jockey Victoria Smith came in second place in the jockey club challenge last week in her first competition after her transitioning. And this is a woman making history. Finally, can I get a drum roll.
Lindsay: You’re welcome.
Brenda: Our best women of the week, it’s not the first time, it won’t be the last is Miss Serena Williams for re-entering tennis at the French Open claiming a huge victory and keeping it positive with Sharapova despite her creepy book. Congratulations Serena Williams for your athleticism and grace under pressure and catsuit, that catsuit too. It’s beautiful.
Lindsay, what’s good in your week?
Lindsay: Okay. How did this question take me by surprise? We literally ask it every week.
Brenda: It’s so hard, it is now-
Lindsay: It’s sometimes really hard. No, you know what, I have a really exciting week coming up next. A week from today is my birthday. And I actually planned something this year. For the last many years, I have not planned anything and I’ve just at the last minute done a little hang out with friends, which is always lovely. But this year, my friends and I are going to go on a little out-of-town trip just for a night down to Richmond. And then we are going to go to an amusement park and ride roller coasters and go to a waterpark. And I am so excited because I haven’t ridden roller coasters since I was in high school.
Brenda: That is fun, that sounds really fun.
Lindsay: I’m excited for that, I’m also seeing Alison Krauss in concert this week, that is incredibly exciting. And yeah, I just can’t wait.
Brenda: And what’s good in my week? Let’s see, what’s good in my week is finishing my last class here at Universidad de la Plata. It’s always sort of a rush to the end and also just a kind of love fest at the end where you appreciate what your students have done for you, the ones who have stuck around and been in it. And for me, just my gratitude because with my language difference teaching in Spanish three, four hours at a time, they’ve just been so patient. What’s good in my week is feeling like we actually got a lot of great work done and form some really good relationships while I was here at the university and just gratitude toward my students in general.
That’s it for this week’s episode of Burn It All Down, thanks for joining. A special shout out to our patrons who keep us going every week. For those of you who have not subscribed to our Patreon campaign, please look for it and do so. You can get extra content, newsletters, interviews, hot takes all the like. Also, you can find Burn It All Down on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn. We really do appreciate your ratings and your comments and feedback. We’re on Facebook at Burn It All Down and twitter at burnitdownpod. For information about the show, links, and transcripts for each episode, please check our website, burnitalldownpod.com. You can also email us, and we do try to respond just as fast as we can and appreciate all the feedback that you give us. For Lindsay and I, please have a great week and we’ll catch you next time.
Original Spanish interview with Viviana Vila
Brenda: Hoy día tenemos con nosotros a Viviana Vila, gracias por estar con nosotros en Burning all down.
Viviana: Gracias, buenas tardes.
Brenda: Vos estás la primera mujer junto con Ally Wagner en ser una comentarista durante el partido para la copa mundial masculina ¿Cómo sientes escuchar eso?
Viviana: Lo siento muy impactante, muy fuerte, muy grande, muy mundial, lo siento de esa manera cuando Telemundo me convocó para trabajar, no había tomado nota de esto, de que iba a ser la primera mujer de habla hispana que comenté, no había tomado la dimensión de eso, a medida que me lo van presentando de esta manera, me toma de esa manera, me llena de responsabilidad, es mucha responsabilidad.
Pero estoy muy feliz y muy agradecida, muy agradecida porque no cualquiera posa los ojos sobre una mujer, no cualquiera se arriesga, no cualquiera toma este riesgo y la verdad que Telemundo y Telemundo deportes se ha portado maravillosamente bien y ha tenido la generosidad de convocarme, no siempre te respetan tanto, como me han respetado, por eso yo tengo toda esta necesidad de responder por mí y por mi historia y también por la confianza que depositaron en mí.
Brenda ¿Cómo te preparas para tal evento?
Viviana: Estudiando, leo, estudio, tomó nota de todos los países, de las selecciones, porque la información no está estancada, sino que todo el tiempo hay cosas, siento que no me alcanza el tiempo para estudiar todo, porque tengo muchos partidos que comentar, porque para mí también todo esto es nuevo, se mezclan dos cosas, por un lado el análisis de un partido que es lo que yo voy a hacer, que eso es lo que ocurre en vivo.
Lo que ocurra, ocurre, lo que pasa y pasó y sobre eso tengo que hablar, espero estar a la altura de las circunstancias y, por otro lado, la previa del partido, es la preparación de cómo llegan esas selecciones, cómo están los equipos preparados, cómo fue el camino hacia Rusia, en las eliminatorias, trato de leer todo eso y después va a pasar algo muy lindo, pero muy nuevo, que es trabajar con un relator, un narrador que yo no conozco.
Voy a tener que de entrada empezar a trabajar con él en sintonía, el feedback que se vaya estableciendo con él.
Brenda: ¿Quién es?
Viviana: Voy a trabajar con dos, voy a comentar casi todos los partidos, los voy a hacer con Erasmo y voy a hacer dos partidos con Copán Álvarez, a Copán lo conocí, un encanto, me pareció bárbaro, hicimos un partido con él de prueba y salió muy bien y a Erasmo, lo voy a conocer directamente en Moscú, así que no bien lo conozca y ya tengo que ponerme a trabajar con él y va a ser toda una experiencia nueva.
Brenda: ¿Cuál es el primer partido?
[00:04:06] Viviana: Croacia, Nigeria.
Brenda: Croacia, Nigeria.
Viviana: Si, el día 16, el mismo día que debuta Argentina también, después yo hago Croacia, Nigeria y a comentar ese partido y después todos los días tengo un partido diferente.
Brenda: Y has trabajado como periodista durante casi 20 años, siempre y quizás ¿Te centraste en los deportes?
Viviana: Los primeros años de mi carrera no, hice mucha radio en la locución comercial, animación, conducción de eventos, todo esto en radio, también mucha conducción en lugares de producción de eventos y después periodismo general, no sólo deportivo, el primero deportivo fuerte hará 17 años aproximadamente, es toda una vida, fuerte sí. Tanto en tele como en radio, hace 17, 18 años.
Brenda: ¿Cuáles son los desafíos de ser una mujer periodista deportiva en Argentina?
Viviana: Son muchos, son muy intensos, tienen muchas alegrías, pero tienen muchos obstáculos. El mayor obstáculo es cuando una mujer opina, cuando una mujer emite un juicio, cuando una mujer dice lo que piensa respecto de un deporte que casi siempre fue de varones, y que a las mujeres le costó mucho entrar. Ahí es donde se produce el primer escollo, el primer obstáculo.
Cuando nosotras opinamos, porque mientras contemos algo que está ocurriendo, los varones nos perdonan más. Cuando las mujeres opinamos allí está la principal arma de– El filtro mayor, cuando hay una lupa grande sobre nosotras dicen, “¿Pero desde que lugar opinas eso, qué sabes vos, por qué? “, no te miran, te miran de reojo, no te eligen para los trabajos directamente.
No te eligen, si te eligen el otro te está mirando, juzgando, cada palabra que decís se analiza al doble. Hay mucha crueldad en todo eso, crueldad de los colegas, crueldad del público también, y ahí hay un escollo muy grande la verdad.
Brenda: ¿Recuerdas una opinión que viste, que causó esta reacción?
Viviana: Sí, no es una en particular, no es una frase en particular, y no es una frase solo a la agresiva, sino muchas veces yo recuerdo que ante una jugada del partido, un penal, un offside, lo que sea. Yo opinaba una cosa y en las redes sociales con mucha bruteza me han tratado hasta que no era digna de estar en el lugar que estaba, que cómo iban a gastar plata en un sueldo para mí, si yo no era merecedora de estar ahí, que no tenía ni idea de nada.
Yo decía, “Pero a mí me eligieron para este trabajo”, ¿qué es esta crueldad con la que me tratan? Fue devastador porque era de– Además esto fue al principio muy fuerte, y a mí eso me golpeo mucho. Después empecé a tomar un poco más de tranquilidad y decir, “Bueno, es la opinión de ellos, yo hago dignamente mi trabajo, no le quito la plata a nadie, no le pido nada a nadie”.
Trato de ir por mi vida lo más dignamente posible, esto para mí no es un sacrificio. Hay gente que le cuesta ser digna, a mí nunca me ha costado ser digna [risa]. Hay muchos varones ofendidos con mi presencia, y la presencia de muchas mujeres también.
Básicamente es a partir de que yo opino, si yo solamente informase la tendría más fácil, sí. La opinión es lo que genera tanto rechazo en el otro. No tanto cuestionamiento, tanta burla, eso sí.
Brenda: ¿Piensas que las cosas están cambiando?
Viviana: De a poquito, pero demasiado de a poco. Igualmente te voy a decir lo que yo pienso, estoy convencida que aquellos varones que no gustan del trabajo que hago, que hacemos las mujeres. Siguen pensando lo mismo, pero ahora se cuidan un poco más. Porque hay esta impronta de las mujeres, de colectivo de mujeres tan fuerte diciendo, “Acá estamos, es nuestro momento”.
Viviana: Que a muchos se cuidan por ahí, de esa crítica despiadada, pero no significa que piensen diferente. Que en tal caso yo también arribé la conclusión que no tienen por qué gustar de nosotras, o aceptar lo que yo opine, lo que seguro no podemos aceptar ni acepto yo es el maltrato, es el hostigamiento, es la palabra que te trata de denigrar como mujer y como trabajadora.
Eso no lo acepto, después si no te gusta lo que yo hago bueno, pero a mí tampoco me gusta lo que hace un varón a veces, pero no por eso lo maltrato al varón. Simplemente no lo escucho en tal caso no, pero como voy a– ¿Quien soy yo para no permitir un trabajo a un colega?, de ninguna manera lo haría. Conmigo lo hicieron mucho.
Eso duele, pero lo que duele, pero te fortalece también.
Brenda: Claro [risas] tú hiciste muy bien [risa]. Háblanos un poco de fútbol, ¿qué estas esperando ver en esta copa del mundo masculino?
Viviana: Lo primero que quiero ver, es una Viviana Vila que pueda analizar muy bien el partido.
Brenda: [risas] Eso es cierto.
Viviana: El mejor mundial va a ser el que yo comente muy bien, ese va a ser mi mejor– El mejor mundial lo voy a ganar yo si yo puedo comentar muy bien los partidos. Después espero ver juegos muy interesantes, espero ver selecciones que me sorprendan, espero que sea un mundial de mucho color, de mucha fiesta, de no violencia, espero ver un mundial bien organizado que les cuento que va a ser así.
Desde lo futbolístico yo creo que además de la– Que seguramente el fútbol es maravilloso porque es sorprendente, yo digo seguro que voy a ratificar lo que pienso en la previa de muchos equipos que están en el pódium de los mejores, pero después siempre el mundial te reserva alguna sorpresa. Me gustaría que haya sorpresas, para que no sea todo tan claro desde el principio, que no esté todo si no siempre gana el mismo si no siempre son los mismos tres que animan la fiesta.
Ojalá se reserve el mundial siempre algo decían, “Mirá vos, mirá que bueno esto”.
Brenda: ¿Hay jugadores que debemos pensar, mirar diferente?
Viviana: Mira el caso es que estamos en Argentina, el caso de Messi, todos piensan que Messi se merece un mundial, muchos están esperando si Messi es el mejor del mundo, pero no ganó ningún mundial, entonces la expectativa está centrada en, ¿qué va a pasar con Messi? ¿Qué va a pasar con Cristiano? ¿Qué va a pasar–? Bueno esperemos que se recupere Salah y que pueda tener para Egipto un muy buen mundial, se lo merece por la historia de ese chico.
Que muy chico tiene 25 años y una desgracia le ha pasado en su hombro, pero bueno confían en que van a estar. Después cuando hablo de Alemania, hablo de toda Alemania, porque es un sistema tan maravilloso de juego tan compacta, Alemania siempre es Alemania, siempre se gana Alemania. Después creo que Neymar va a protagonizar todo el show brasileño. Creo que Colombia va a hacer un gran mundial con Falcao y con-
Viviana: – James Rodríguez. La expectativa de Perú con y sin Paolo es tan diferente por Guerrero estoy hablando. Hablando estoy hablando mucho de América, pero porque creo que Uruguay tiene allí también centrar sus expectativas con esa delantera tan genial de Suarez y de Cavani. Después creo que, por ejemplo, no dan como candidato a Francia, pero pienso en Griezmann, pienso en Giroud, pienso que si el técnico de Francia tiene todas las luces y sus jugadores también.
Tiene hombres en todas las líneas muy interesantes para hacer un gran mundial. Por supuesto que España va a ser protagonista también. España es España y tiene jugadores– Tiene a ese Iniesta que es una maravilla. Te estoy nombrando las grandes figuras de los grandes mundiales, de los grandes equipos y creo que el mundial va a pasar por allí, si va a pasar por allí.
Brenda: Solo siete jugadores de Argentina regresan del equipo de 2014. ¿Este equipo tiene una identidad aparte de Messi, a parte de la sombra de Messi?
Viviana: No. [risas]
Brenda: La respuesta es larga. [risa]
Viviana: Argentina tiene grandes jugadores, pero todavía no encontró el equipo que es tan diferente y yo estoy esperando que ese equipo aparezca, tengo muchas ganas. Yo confió en Sampaoli, me parece que Sampaoli es un técnico más inteligente de lo que se muestra hasta aquí, me parece que él mismo es más de lo que pudo demostrar. La verdad es que, Sampaoli pudo demostrar muy poco, pero yo creo que él es mucho más como técnico que lo que ha demostrado.
Así como creo que, otros jugadores son más, creo que Higuaín es un inmenso goleador y en la selección no ha funcionado como tal, como ese inmenso goleador, si pienso en esto tengo que decirte, yo creo que hay un equipo que aún no apareció, de verdad no apareció. En función de los hombres que tiene ese equipo tendrá que aparecer, pero también entiendo que son pocos los partidos de mundial hasta la final, son siete juegos nada más.
Ahí es donde yo digo, cuando me preguntaste vos que me dijiste un “No” rotundo porque hoy España es un equipo, Alemania es un equipo, Brasil es un equipo, hoy Argentina llega con– Ya el inconveniente del arco, llega– No sé cuál va a ser el equipo, sí sé los nombres, pero cómo se va a comportar ese equipo en cancha, tengo todavía mis dudas.
Sí es cierto, que hay un fuego interno instalado en Argentina, por peso propio, pero ya el discurso del peso propio a veces nos queda chico, porque hace mucho que ese peso propio todavía no terminó de salir, uno le exige en función– Yo esto mismo no lo puedo repetir para equipos muy chicos, Argentina no es un equipo chico, Argentina es un equipo grande y para estar a la altura de esa grandeza hacen falta cosas que todavía no he visto en este equipo puntualmente.
Brenda: Espero que ojalá tiene más identidad cuando el torneo está ahí.
Viviana: Sí claro, pero es que– A ver ¿qué tiene de bue–? ¿Muy bueno Argentina? Es que tiene todo para tener toda la identidad, hacer un buen mundial, llegar a la final en 2014 Argentina debería haber sido campeona del mundo, perdió ese último que podría haberlo ganado un inmenso técnico grandes jugadores y llego a la final.
Epa no cualquiera llega a la final de un mundial, no la gano, pero llego a la final, bueno tiene todo para que ahora ocurra hay gente o hay equipos que no tienen como llegar, Argentina lo tiene.
Ahora no tiene asegurado nada absolutamente nada, pero bueno el futbol tiene esta maravilla de la sorpresa, del imponderable, de lo que ocurra en el minuto a minuto, de la inteligencia de sus jugadores y de sus técnicos muchas veces los análisis previos no sirven de nada porque la realidad nos muestra que paso otra cosa, por eso cada más yo digo que los análisis previos tienen que ser más cortos porque a veces hay mucha preparación, chao.
Hay veces que llegas así en medio de los tumbos y te paras por la exigencia, por la urgencia, por las ganas de demostrar todo lo que sabes, por los cambios a tiempo en los 90 minutos que haga un técnico que demuestran que finalmente sí estaba a la altura de las circunstancias ahora, si Argentina se vuelve antes de tiempo, tampoco en mi representaría una sorpresa enorme, no representaría una sorpresa enorme, pero creo que tiene como hacer un buen mundial.
Viviana: Ojalá [risas]
Brenda Viviana Vila, te agradecemos por tu tiempo y nuestros mejores deseos por tu viaje a Rusia.
Viviana: Yo quiero decir una vez que estoy inmensamente feliz que una mujer, no importa que sea yo salgo de mi completamente que una mujer llegue o dos o tres, mañana que sean cinco, que lleguemos a este lugar, que mañana una mujer narre un partido que todavía no ocurrió, va tener un camino lleno de espinas y de obstáculos, pero que logre hacerlo va ser una cosa tan maravillosa, estoy muy feliz porque nunca trabaje para una cadena norte americana me convocó y me ha tratado de 1,000 maravillas.
Yo quiero poner todo mi esfuerzo como siempre lo puse para hacer un gran mundial, ojalá sea así nos vemos en la vuelta y te cuente, “Sí fue un gran mundial” [risas]