Sepp Blatter, the president of world soccer's governing body FIFA, has issued the classic "non-apology apology" for his comments that gays attending the 2022 World Cup in Qatar should remain from having sex.
"It was not my intention and never will be my intention to go into any discrimination," he said. "If somebody feels hurt, then I regret and present apologies."
Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and when Blatter was asked about how this would affect gays at the event in 2022, he said while laughing: "I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.''
His comments went over like a lead condom and he was roundly criticized for thinking discrimination is a joke. Our friend John Amaechi issued a blistering and eloquent condemnation of Blatter on his blog:
I have had it very eloquently pointed out - and I should have made this point earlier - that Blatt's words aren't really about sex - as I can't imagine that many gay football fans would be bold enough to do it in public in Qatar. Rather, what Blatt is really saying is "don't be camp... don't hold hands... don't look into each others eyes... don't book rooms with one bed... don't have candle-lit dinners in the restaurant..." and on and on.
He's really saying don't even 'look' gay, re-closet yourself and pretend the ties and love and affection you have for your partner or even some random bloke you might meet on your travels are gone for the whole time you are in Qatar. For the same exorbitant prices for plastic flags and whatever the Qatari equivalent of the vuvuzela is, after already paying bumped-up prices for flights room and board - you get to pretend to be the you you were before you came out and that, as was pointed out to me, makes Blatt's words even more insidious.
Blatter's "apology" is anything but since it puts the onus on the person who is offended not on the person making the remark. Blatter could have used the moment to issue a real apology and a ringing endorsement of soccer's embrace of all fans and players, gay or straight or bi or transgendered. But that's about as unlikely as Qatar winning the 2022 World Cup.