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Iranian Soccer Players: Banned for Life

It seems that the Iranian soccer (or, football, as it were) players who wore green armbands as a gesture of solidarity with the nation's...


It seems that the Iranian soccer (or, football, as it were) players who wore green armbands as a gesture of solidarity with the nation's protesters during a televised match against South Korea in Seoul have been banned from playing soccer in the country. For life. Their names are Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka'abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32, and Iran's pro-government newspaper reported that they have all "retired."Granted, in terms of graveness, this doesn't really compare to what's actually going on in Tehran and other parts of Iran. However, as Matthew Yglesias points out, it's not insignificant. And it's certainly telling. He writes:...a dictatorial regime that prefers to stay in power through "soft" methods can use the threat of destroying people's careers. Instead of being put on trial and executed, becoming a martyr for the cause, you can just be rendered unemployable in the field of your choice in a decision nobody has to publicly defend but everyone understands. You become, then, not an imprisoned hero, but perhaps just an apparently pathetic person ... a cautionary tale rather than an inspirational example.What's funny is that these guys are, presumably, three of the 10 or 20 best soccer players in Iran, which means that they'll need to be replaced with players of lesser ability, which means that Iran will fare less well in international competition, which means the nation will seem weaker, which could ultimately be a bitter pill for the hard-line administration to swallow.Any soccer fans out there want to weigh in on where they'll end up playing?
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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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