Novak Djokovic and Gianluigi Buffon express themselves in different ways

on March 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

If you ask any child who their hero is, the majority of them would name an athlete or entertainer. That it is why it is important for stars to be careful as their words and actions have a profound impact on youth. Novak Djokovic and Gianluigi Buffon each had impressive weeks but it will be remembered more for what they said than what they did. Djokovic is on the receiving end of some backlash for making sexist remarks and Buffon is gaining even more respect for his poem of affection. Let’s see what trouble the tennis star is getting into first.

If you have been following tennis, you know that Milos Raonic made it to the final of the BNP Indian Wells tournament only to be soundly defeated by World Number One, Djokovic. The story however, starts with the idiotic comments made by the tournament CEO and Co-Founder Raymond Moore and Djokovic.

Now it is unfortunate that this is still a story as you would have hoped society had grown and matured from our ignorant youth, but it hasn’t. Both women and men together, should continue to fight these injustices. What Moore said was complete buffoonery, women have earned their place in tennis and the world even more so than the men and nothing should be done to undermine that.

Djokovic added some fuel to the fire. He made some absurd references regarding women’s bodies and their hormones, but when pressed about equality he did mention that he felt men should get paid more because they bring in more money.

So are Djokovic’s comments about equal pay sexist?

I like to trust my gut, and considering how big it is, it usually is correct. If I look at the statement by itself from the 5 time Indian Wells Champion, I don’t see any sexism there. Whoever gets the bigger draw should get the bigger cheque. You finish first, you get more than second. If an advertiser is willing to pay more for a Super Bowl commercial than one for the Grey Cup, then that sport gets more money. It seems simple enough without involving physiology.

But I say this knowing full well that men are the bigger draw and have had the better opportunities and the better TV times. Therefore something in my gut just doesn’t sit right. I don’t know exactly what it is and I am asking you for help. Why do I sound like a male chauvinist pig when I think there is nothing wrong with his statement about equal pay, is there a logical argument against it?

There are many gifted women athletes such as Serena Williams, Hayley Wickenheiser and Christine Sinclair just to name a few. These women built their own legacy and earned their own place in history. There are children out there, both girls and boys that look up to them as heroes and rightfully so. I know they will inspire future generations to even bigger heights. And no one knows about Heroes, better than the late David Bowie.

Anyway, let’s move on to something more positive and more poetic, by taking a look at one of my heroes. Gigi Buffon has grown into one of my favourite athletes and even though he has at times said and did things that might make you shudder, he has still earned a great deal of respect for his talent and how he plays the game. He has been regarded as one of, if not the best goalkeepers in the world. He plays with passion, emotion and is fiercely loyal having stayed with Juventus for the last 15 of his 21 year career even when they were penalized and sent down to Seria B. He made his professional debut at the tender age of 17 and now at 38 he is still a wonder to behold.

Yes, he did break yet another Seria A record recently. He passed Sebastiano Rossi’s 20 year record of going 929 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. During this span the bianconeri have won every match, other than a 0-0 draw versus Bologna, outscoring their opponents 20-0. Buffon kept the record until the 48th minute of their 4-1 victory over cross town rivals Torino. It was a penalty kick. The record now stands at 974 minutes but what made this special, was how he acknowledged it.

Apart from his poetic declaration of love for the goal in which he protected, he also went to on thank and praise each member of his team individually, for no record like this is every accomplished by one man.

A classy move by the elder statesman of soccer.

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