UnNews:World Cup draw claimed "cruel and unusual"

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23 June 2014

Jozy Altidore

Faking heat-induced leg cramps is FIFA's analog to the Yanks' Eighth Amendment.

MANAUS, Brazil -- The United States soccer team squandered a lead and settled for a 2-2 tie to Portugal in World Cup action here.

"Football's cruel sometimes," said Tim Howard, for the benefit of Americans. He is a former teammate of Christiano Ronaldo, who set up the final goal, a header by Varela. By comparison, baseball is never cruel; and in American football, the cruelty is limited to racial slurs, gay-bashing, and broken ankles and serial concussions that induce players to commit suicide when their playing days are done.

The clock had counted up to 90:00 and stopped, but the game was in "extra time," kept going by cruel referees on a whim to compensate for water breaks and stoppages to let players get up who had spontaneously fallen over to try to win a penalty. Extra time is a cruel soccer tradition to see if something interesting will happen, and this time, it did.

The tie means that the United States will not be able to blow off its upcoming match against Germany but will have to use hypercaution to try for a nil-nil tie, in a game where all the cruelty is directed at fans and viewers, or be eliminated as the 32 competitors are reduced to 28.

An American law firm that recently sued the State of Texas to air-condition its prisons has adapted its argument into a suit against FIFA. It claims that playing soccer in a city of two million in the middle of the Brazilian rain forest that Americans have never heard of constitutes cruel and unusual punishment just as steamy prison cells do. The slogan from the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution originally banned torture but now sometimes works to ban the death penalty entirely, and shows promise in banning all discomfort. Other respected firms in the slip-and-fall bar are readying copycat lawsuits that claim it is cruel and unusual punishment not to have air conditioning in workplaces, tenements, cars, and beaches.

FIFA argues that there is no reason the Eighth Amendment should apply in Brazil. However, as banks in Brazil and elsewhere will have to start obeying IRS regulations in July, FIFA's attempt to claim "extraterritoriality" is unlikely to prevail. A separate problem with the defense is that unfair and inexplicable soccer results, while cruel, are not unusual.

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