CBS Analyst Apologizes After “Latino Temperament” Comment On Red Card


PSG’s Angel Di Maria undoubtedly did something stupid in the second half of his team’s semi-final match on Tuesday. He stomped on Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho and earned a red card.

But as a result, CBS color commentator Jim Beglin did something undeniably stupid.

“It’s the Latino temperament,” said Beglin when Di Maria, an Argentine midfielder, left the field.

About 10 minutes later, Beglin referred to the comment and apologized – which fell flat because he seemed to understand what he was apologizing for.

“When Di Maria was sent off, I said – or I described it with the word ‘Latino’,” said Beglin during a live action on the air. “To anyone who offended this, I apologize – sincerely apologize.”

Comments like Beglin’s perpetuated stereotypes

The problem isn’t that Beglin used the word “Latino”. There is nothing offensive in itself. The problem is that he attributed Di Maria’s temperament to ethnicity.

In doing so, he perpetuated a racist stereotype. There are, of course, thousands of Latino soccer players who are not in a bad mood, and there are thousands of non-Latino players – including some in Tuesday’s game – who are.

But would Beglin, who is Irish, attribute an Irish player’s red card to “Irish temperament”?

For example, when Man City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko broke out in anger in the same game, did Beglin describe it as “Ukrainian anger”?

Of course not.

PSG’s Angel Di Maria (left) sees a red card in the Champions League semi-final between Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain. (AP Photo / Dave Thompson)

Studies have shown that football commentaries are full of implicit biases. Announcers, many of whom are white, are more likely to praise white players for their intelligence and leadership and more likely to criticize non-white players for lacking these qualities, while these non-white players are often praised for “speed and power”. “These and many other trends are based on and reinforce ill-informed stereotypes.

“Commentators shape the perception of every player and deepen the racial prejudice already represented by the viewer,” said Jason Lee, a senior executive at England’s Football Players’ Association, in March. “It is important to consider how wide these perceptions can be and how they affect footballers even after they are finished playing.”

Beglin apologizes again

Beglin seemed contrite after his comment on Tuesday. At first, however, he didn’t seem to fully understand what he’d done wrong, which underscores how deeply ingrained this problem is and how much progress the industry needs to make to break down longstanding prejudices.

Later on Tuesday night, he issued a second apology that was more directly related to the issue of his comment.

“I apologize for my culturally insensitive remarks,” he wrote in a statement. “I mistakenly used a racist stereotype. It was inappropriate and unacceptable. Words have a powerful influence and I understand the severity of what I said when Angel Di Maria was sent off.

“I will learn from it and develop better.”

In other news, Man City, who fielded four South American players, comfortably won the game on Tuesday and made it to the Champions League final, where it will play against either Chelsea or Real Madrid.

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