"Criticism" Pulisic Needs to Shut Up
I am going to start this off by noting that I am a Chelsea fan. Up the Blues and whatnot. I am also a massive Christian Pulisic fan. Even after everything I’m about to say here, I’ll still be cheering the dude like crazy this November when he takes the pitch at Blood Money Park (presented by Coca-Cola) in Qatar this November.
But, right now in this moment, Christian Pulisic needs to shut the fuck up and stay in his lane.
Pulisic, who has never kept a steady starting gig in Europe and is yet to score a single goal in the World Cup, decided to come after USMNT fans and (by extension) the city of Cincinnati last night after winning a 3-0 friendly against Morocco. In post-match comments, Pulisic took note of the empty seats at TQL Stadium and large contingent of Moroccan fans, stating “I’m not super happy with the amount of Americans here, if I’m being honest.” Setting aside the grossness of assuming anyone supporting Morocco last night wasn’t an “American,” let’s really unpack what Pulisic is saying right here.
Pulisic is upset that Americans, in an economy that has seen ~8% inflation wipe out their purchasing power, weren’t packing into TQL Stadium to watch a glorified exhibition match where ticket prices started at nearly $100. I’d guess he’s also upset that more Americans weren’t willing to pay soaring airfare prices (fares at CVG have jumped 34% since last year) or record-setting fuel prices to travel to a game with zero stakes and zero implications for the teams playing. Pulisic, a man making £150,000 per week to sit the bench at Chelsea, isn’t happy you didn’t spend your money to watch him play a game where the scoreline was so meaningless that he deferred on taking a PK in the second half so that someone else could get the experience.
He’s also positively fuming that Moroccans had the audacity to make the trip to TQL Stadium instead. To wrap your head around the absurdity of his take, you really need to do a bit critical thinking (which, if you do even a cursory dive into Christian’s politics, probably isn’t his strongest suit). There are approximately 120,000 Moroccans living in the United States. It has been over 15 years since their national team last played a match in America, and they were understandably big-E Excited to see them here. It might be shocking concept for the uninformed or the uncurious like CP10, but people living a long way from their favorite team or home team are frequently willing to spend more money and go to greater lengths to see them when they get the chance. You can skip a USMNT match because you know you'll get a dozen more times to see themin the next few years. If you're a Moroccan, though? This might be the only chance you get to see your team for decades. Of course you're going to do more, spend more and be more goddamn excited to see them play. Presumably, Christian will learn this concept when he and Matt “Summer Friendly” Miazga get trotted out to play an exhibition game against Charlotte FC this July where — and I know this is going to be fucking shocking — there will be a huge contingent of Chelsea supporters traveling from around the country to take advantage of this rare opportunity to see their favorite team play. Wanna bet if he calls out the faux Queen City for their lack of support for the home team?
There's even bigger issue here though. For guy obsessed with whether or not you’re American enough to attend a sporting event, Christian really doesn’t “get” American sports culture. We’re a nation raised from birth to understand three things about sports:
1. You can’t win without starting pitching.
2. Football is won in the trenches.
3. Preseason and exhibition games don’t fucking matter.
The only reason NFL preseason games aren’t played to empty houses is because they force season ticket holders to buy the preseason games as part of the package. Baseball spring training games are played in glorified college stadiums and priced at $10-$15 a ticket. Hell, the only people watching on TV are degenerate gamblers (true story: you’ve never known anxiety until you’ve spent the 4th quarter of an NFL preseason game sweating out an over, knowing everyone on the field will be working for FedEx or Amazon in 2 weeks) and that one guy in your fantasy league who complains about the waiver wire rule. Somehow, Christian thinks soccer is the exception to this — where Americans will be happy to shell out the cost of nearly 4 FC Cincinnati matches to see him and his teammates go through the motions.
The saddest part of all this is that Christian could’ve used this moment to call for real change in the way US Soccer does business. He could’ve called out the shadowy Organization XIII type dickheads who run the sport in this country and asked why we’re pricing these games at a point where so many seats go unsold. He could have questioned the shady business practices that prioritize profit over giving fans an opportunity to see their national team. He could’ve called attention to the fact that US Soccer has granted a de-facto monopoly to one group (American Outlaws) and allowed them to control the matchday environment at every USMNT and USWNT game around the country. If he were feeling like being a capital-L Leader in this country, he could've empathized with the plight of the American fan and called on our elected officals to do more to help struggling families with surging costs of living. Shit — he could’ve just been magnanimous, and applauded the passion of the Moroccan fans who attended the match, many of whom are Americans as well and probably will be supporting Christian and the USMNT at the World Cup alongside Morocco.
But he didn’t do any of that, because Christian Pulisic doesn’t get it. And, until he does, he needs to shut the fuck up and leave the talking to the adults.
See you in November, Pully.