Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Friday's World Cup draw not an easy ending for us to swallow

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by your sister: Kissing her never felt so good before suddenly feeling so bad.

Q: What on earth are you talking about, you creep?

A: Same thing everybody else is: The U.S. soccer team's 2-2 draw against Slovenia on Friday in the World Cup. If you'd told me at halftime that the U.S. would get a point out of this match, I would have laughed at you. And then -- in a highly inappropriate yet satisfying move -- I would have delivered an uppercut to your jaw simply for suggesting such nonsense. We were down 2-0 and looked, quite frankly, like the worst team in the history of soccer.

Q: So what's your problem with the draw, then? Great comeback, no? Still gives us a chance to advance out of the group stage, right?

A: All true. The two U.S. goals in the second half were exhilarating, and Landon Donovan is quickly becoming one of my favorite athletes ever. But we should have won. The disallowed goal in the 85th minute was, to put it mildly, a direct assault on the freedom our nation holds dear.

Q: Why did referee Koman Coulibali disallow the goal?

A: I have no idea.

Q: Offsides?

A: Nope. There wasn't any.

Q: Foul?

A: Nope. The only perceptible fouls on that play were being committed by Slovenia.

Q: Desire to assault the freedom our nation holds dear?

A: That's my best guess.

Q: What do Koman Coulibali and Albert Haynesworth have in common?

A: They both see things that don't exist. In the case of Haynesworth, a Pro Bowl defensive tackle who has refused to attend mandatory Redskins minicamp, it's some crazy notion that you can decide not to come to work and still pick up a $21 million signing bonus.

Q: Wait. You've defended NFL players in holdout situations in the past, haven't you?

A: Yes. But this scenario is so much different. If a player outperforms his contract, then stays away because he wants more money, I get it. I don't like it, necessarily, but I get it. The NFL has no guaranteed contracts. If teams have the right to cut a guy and pay him nothing if he stinks, then said player is justified in holding out if his play on the field shows he deserves more money. It's his only recourse, really.

Q: So how is Haynesworth different?

A: Not even he can argue he's worth more than the $100 million contract given him. He's holding out -- and demanding a trade -- because he doesn't want to play in a 3-4 defense.

Q: That's it?

A: That's it. And don't let DeAngelo Hall tell you any different.

Q: What does Hall have to do with this?

A: He's the only guy in the Redskins locker room who stood up for Haynesworth. He told The Washington Post: "I talked to him last night for about an hour and it's a tough situation. I understand a hundred percent where he's coming from."

Q: Well, if the most unselfish player in Virginia Tech history says it, then it's settled, isn't it?

A: Right.

Q: Utah accepted the Pac-10's invitation this week, giving the league 12 teams. If the Big Ten has 12 teams, and the Pac-10 has 12 teams, and the Big 12 has 10 teams, what does this say about our education system in America?

A: Not good things, but it does explain a lot. The next time you're in the express checkout line at the grocery store and feel someone is abusing the "10 items or less" policy, ask this shopper if he went to Ohio State. And then ask the store manager if he or she went to USC, because the sign ought to say "10 items or fewer."

Q: Will do. By the way, why was there no Q&A-Mac last week?

A: Didn't feel like doing it.

Q: And you still got paid your exorbitant salary?

A: Yep. I'll refer all further questions on the matter to DeAngelo Hall. He and I talked for about an hour last night. He understands a hundred percent where I'm coming from.

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