Steven Wells puts Sal Pal on blast

ESPN football reporter Sal Paolantonio has a new book called “How Football Explains America.” And the Guardian’s Steven Wells has a few choice thoughts to convey his opinion of said book. Actually, more than a few.

The actual chapters of How Football Explains America are all but unreadable. Paolantonio rehashes a game or a heartwarming football-related anecdote with the gusto of the true bore. Then he explains why this explains how football explains the battle of Midway. Or Davy Crockett. Or manifest destiny. Each chapter more tedious than the last.

The prologue is a masterpiece of bombastic ignorance in which Paolantonio inadvertently reveals that he has apparently never actually watched any other sport. Or indeed read about them.

“Go ahead, you try going to a rugby game and writing about it. Soccer? Ninety minutes of whatever and then maybe one goal scored by accident. Tough to create a coherent narrative out of that.”

…Paolantonio is the sports journalism equivalent of the saloon bar patriot who doesn’t actually own a passport.

Sal Pal: Offending non-American English speakers worldwide.

Obviously, Sal Pal’s ham-handed shots at FIFA football curdled Wells’ opinion of this book from forgettable to utterly odious…

We also learn that American football is replete with the “underlining mythical structures” of “our Judeo Christian heritage”, “our immigrant experience”, “masculinity and violence” and “the romanticized storyline that Americans demand from their television sets every night”.

Which makes perfect sense — especially when you realise that America is the only country in the world with Jews, Christians, immigrants, men and television sets.

How Football Explains America is a canard built on a false assumption based on a lazy anthropological cliché.

Tell us what you REALLY think, buddy.


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