You know what’s more ignoble than being corrupt or having flaws and drawbacks, it’s being shamed for one’s faults and disregarded for one’s accomplishments. It is with a global euphoria that the world received the resignation of sepp blatter, and it comes as no surprise to see the man who headed Fifa since 1998 being referred to as the devil incarnate. But even amidst the indignation at his probable shady dealings, we should not forget that the man we are booing down the stage is the man who made Fifa the global powerful brand it is today.
We are all imperfect, and we all screw up from time to time. But in the realm of mortals, we still have the obligation to judge one based on his overall performance rather than on his dramatic failure. We grew to forgive Steve Jobs for dumping his pregnant girlfriend and Zuckerberg for stabbing his friend in the back. We turned a blind eye to our heroes when they went through the wrong path: we are not holding a grudge against Lincoln for his views on slavery or Martin Luther King for his academic wrongdoings. Why? Because someone who dares to be greater than his mistakes and makes up for his shortcomings by doing the world a service is someone we hail as an icon. Why then aren’t we doing Sepp Blatter at least the courtesy of recognizing his immense efforts and grandiose accomplishments in turning a sports association into a global multi-billion dollar phenomenon?
“We reach 1.6 billion people. FIFA is more influential than any country in the world or any religion through the positive emotions football triggers. We move masses. And we want to make use of this to create more peace, equality and health in this world.” — Blatter to Swiss paper Sonntags Zeitung
Why aren’t we standing for Blatter’s contributions towards a more equal approach in global decision making through his one nation one vote system of deciding on the Fifa body’s major issues? Sepp Blatter’s net worth stands at $20 million, quite a small sum for someone being accused of channeling millions and millions into his own pockets for the past decade!
“My dedication to football is total — not just from my legs but from my heart. You could say my fiancée is the 98-year-old woman called FIFA. I have worked hard. I have not always been successful, but only those who don’t work never commit errors.” — Blatter to BBC World Football
Yes FIFA was embroiled in massive scandals, and yes Sepp Blatter is far from being mother Teresa, but as dark as some of his dealings are, he is nonetheless a visionary who built and revived an organization that now reaches 1.6 billion people, an organization that celebrates hope and cross cultural understanding, and an organization we still love and respect no matter what.
Thank you Sepp Blatter for your work, you may not be perfect, but neither are we.
Photo Credit: Bloomberg