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One brutally honest Italian guy

June 25, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
Ya’ gotta love Italian soccer.

Specifically, you have to love the stand-up guys the coach and team executive proved to be in the wake of Italy’s elimination for the second straight World Cup before reaching the final rounds.

There was an issue involving a red card that caused Italy to play much of the game down a player (my hockey mind thinks of it as a period-long power-play) and in the 81st minute of the match, Italy lost Tuesday to Uruguay, which has some guy who bites people but who still is on the field playing. Hmmm.

After the game, the team exec said he was planning to quit before the tournament and the coach, Cesare Prandelli, took unequivocal and full responsibility for Italy’s elimination. When asked about the poor play of one of the players, he said he had chosen that player for a certain technical plan and the plan didn’t work. He didn’t focus on the red card though he disagreed with it. He didn’t blame the players.

Then came the refreshing, unheard of statement, something never, ever uttered in professional American sports except maybe by race car drivers who boneheadedly leave the pits with the gas can still attached.

Saiid Coach Prandelli:

“I take all responsibility for our failure, which, among other things, is down to our limitations in quality. "It's useless for me to sit here and say I could have done it differently "This is why I'm resigning."

Imagine Dan Bylsma saying something like after the Penguins failed (again) to live up to their potential in the NHL finals. Imagine the Penguins saying something honest in letting Bylsma — a good guy by all accounts I’ve seen — go instead of giving the impression he could keep his job and letting him hang on for a couple weeks until a new GM was hired. Imagine, speaking of GM, the faceless engineers who designed and approved that lousy ignition switch that has felled seemingly every GM model made since 2004, coming forward and saying, “Yes, we did that and we screwed up.”

Of course that can’t happen because of the litigation that surely would follow.

But wouldn’t it be better if more people in the world were like Coach Cesare Prandelli and took responsibility for what happens around them, beyond the sports field?

Lest you think I’ve gone all nationalistic for the folks from my ancestral homeland, I offer that Italians are notorious for not doing the honest thing and taking responsibility for themselves. I offer up the words “Bunga bunga” and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, as well as Capt. Francesco Schettino, he of the Costa Concordia disaster, as evidence.

But Prandelli deserves praise for being the kind of honorable guy we should all be.


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