Posted by Joel Martinsen on Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM
Coming apart at the seams
China's long-suffering national men's football team recently became embroiled in new scandal when some of its players were rumored to have violated team rules by leaving their accommodations and booking a hotel room on their own. The issue, as summarized by ChinaSmack:
Today, a self-criticism letter written by one of the players involved surfaced in the media. As that player tells it, no hanky-panky took place during the half hour he was in the room — he had just gone to take a bath, he explained.
For readers attuned to online memes, this excuse calls to mind two recent catch phrases: "I came to buy soy sauce," and "I'm here to do push-ups." Blogger zwke predicts that "I came to take a bath" (我是来洗澡的) is poised to follow those two memes into Photoshopped images and post signatures in mainland BBSs and blogs.
The letter translated below was obtained by the Yangtse Evening Post, which wrote by way of introduction:
Respected Football Association and Other Leaders:
The unsatisfactory performance of the national team in Olympic football matches has team members upset. When the games were over, we each did some serious self-reflection and evaluation. Recently, however, everyone's been buzzing about the so-called team member hotel room incident, reflecting negatively on the image of the CFA and the national team. Because of this, I feel that I ought to clear things up and present a necessary explanation.
First, I admit that I was that team member who "booked a room." I admit that I violated team rules and went out on my own, leading to an outcome worse than I had ever imagined. I want to express my desire to accept the CFA's punishment, and as I feel that I do not fit the demands of the national team, I have decided that I shall no longer represent it in any games.
As for the hotel room incident, I want to explain to the leadership that on that evening, I only went to take a bath, and after showering, I returned to the team. The entire time I did nothing that violated team rules or professional ethics. You might ask, why didn't I shower in the team dormitory? The truth is that on that day, the water temperature adjustment in our room wasn't functioning normally — this is something you can check out for yourself. And I was in the hotel room for less than half an hour. In such a short period of time, anything else wouldn't have fit with my normal habits.
There are those who say that we national team members shoot when we shouldn't, and fail to shoot when we should. To me, this is irresponsible speech that brings great harm on me and my teammates. I personally shot twice in the first match and once in the second. Although I didn't score, this still reflects my true spirit. We tried our best.
I would also like to take this opportunity to discuss how to address our team's record at the Olympics. We lost two games and drew one. Is that unacceptable? Look at our opponents: Brazil, Belgium, and New Zealand. You've got to admit that they're definitely at a higher level than we are. But then why are we always subject to such abuse? I know that we've let football fans down, and I hope that the CFA can come forward and direct the fans not to give us so much pressure.
I also know that fans are no longer cursing out the national team or individual players; they've poured all of their anger out against the CFA leadership. This actually makes us feel even worse, because it means that the fans no longer hold out any hope for us as players. They can't fathom why Chinese football never improves. I hope that the CFA will thing about this, as I will as well. We work hard, but why do we always lose? Does working hard mean that we will always win? In the end, what does football bring to people? Who have we offended? As football players, what is the next step we ought to take in our professional careers?
Team member ×××
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