I’m always surprised when I hear stories about how some people never knew that their closest friends were involved in corruption. In the modern world, let’s forget about soccer for a second, how can you NOT know something is going on right next to you with the amount of information that is available to us all?
After it was revealed that Chuck Blazer made corrupt deals on American soil for more than a decade, did many in the media here in the US decide to go silent or take a more nonchalant role in investigating the connection with US soccer? Sure, they did. Why? There were many things going on in the sports calendar, no doubt. Yet it was a story that was pertinent to what was going on in FIFA. But more attention should have been paid to it, not brushed aside the way it was by many.
In Wednesday’s US Senate panel hearing on corruption in soccer, some of the Spanish-language US media outlets such as ESPN Deportes played excerpts of the hearing and discussed what went on. Some went as far as saying that ‘it might not be a lot, but it is a first step.’ It did leave US Soccer (especially Sunil Gulati) in a negative light within the international community because of the monk-like silence he has decided to take on throughout this entire ordeal.
During the US Senate panel hearing, US Soccer Federation CEO Dan Flynn said, “I was aware of some level of discomfort but it was all a general feeling. So, I had no hard evidence and we wanted to continue to participate in trying to influence (FIFA) as one of 209 members.”
However, Flynn later conceded that USSF decided to play ball with the likes of Blazer and Warner rather than follow-up on what was causing the “level of discomfort” because “we had other things to do to help build our sport.”
While many in English were already nominating Sunil Gulati for canonization and propping him up as the next president of FIFA after the DOJ and FBI did all of the hard work to begin prosecuting corrupt CONCACAF and FIFA officials, there were some that asked the big question: “How did Gulati not know about Chuck Blazer and Jeffrey Webb and Eduardo Li?” These were individuals that he fraternized with at the Paradise Island hotel in the Bahamas back in April.