Lopera and us | Soccer | Sports


It was in 1995 when that league of extraordinary men that Movistar portrayed in a recent documentary reached its peak. Betis were playing against Sevilla and the two presidents, Manuel Ruiz de Lopera and Luis Cuervas, sat in a radio talk show separated by Amparo Rubiales, a government delegate. Brotherhood food, she told herself. But the two got heated between accusations of alcoholism and, even worse (irony, mates: wink emoji), homosexuality.

—Go fuck yourself, damn.

—You’re going to fuck off, faggot.

—You are a faggot.

Days after the exchange, Lopera said what could be expected from a drunk who dedicated El Rocío to taking women from his friends. A few hundred kilometers away, Gil and Gil were breathing with relief because he was about to sign an important player before they told him that he was a “faggot”: “I won’t put that one in the locker room. They just needed to say that Gil has one of these there.” Almost at the height of that statement about a referee that Iván Vargas rescued for Jot Down: “he is a faggot. I know for a fact that after we were eliminated from the UEFA Cup, the Italians looked for that referee for a blonde boy with blue eyes.”

Lopera’s death is not the end of an era or anything like it, even though death always makes a bit of an impression. What the look back at the time when Lopera and the ‘loperas’, that business class that suddenly saw in football clubs the opportunity to gain credit (social, political, economic), ruled the media, offers is the dark business that they did with them: the more nonsense, the more disputes and the more wars, feigned or not, the more audience for everyone. It is difficult not to see in us, journalists, a crazy touch of nostalgia behind our severe moral denunciation: what times, what headlines, what cartoons! It was todovalismo, a toxic philosophy according to which the spectacle has a price that, curiously, only those who barely have a voice in the media pay (can you imagine a homosexual complaining about Cuervas and Lopera’s anger? To a Muslim for the ‘firewood for the Moor’ on that cover?)

Let us return, then, to the omnivorous and ethically neglected power of football: can a Betis fan prefer that Lopera had never presided over the club? He promoted him to First Division, took him repeatedly to Europe and made him win a title. It is urgent among the Betic fans to separate the author from the work because on this occasion the author did not compose a handful of songs or paintings or books or films for eternity, but rather he gave back to the fans First Division football and the victories, and there any border is blurred. Without comparing in size, obviously, what will be remembered about Qatar, its impressive finale and the Martian swan song of Leo Messi or the deaths in precarious conditions building the stadiums and the crushing of human rights related to women and homosexuals?

Football as a reflection of society or society as a reflection of football. It’s a little scary to think that it doesn’t matter. That time and that Lopera was what Spain deserved and the blame cannot be attributed to football (“the ball does not get dirty”) but to our demand: that of the stands, that of the media, that of the society that the most Today’s bulls are called a “freer” society only because the objects of ridicule could not defend themselves and the others, us, did not know that that was mockery.

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