John Carlin is one of the most accomplished sportswriters of our era, but that doesn't make him immune to fucking it up. And well, he did it in a terrible fashion after criticizing the looks of Atlético Madrid players and comparing the team with the Sinaloa Cartel in his last opinion column in Diario La Vanguardia.
In the piece — written before the game between Atlético and the sumptuous Manchester City in the Champions League — Carlin added his voice to the annoying choir despising Diego Simeone's rough style with los colchoneros. He basically says that whatever Atlético Madrid does is not aristocracy, finesse, neither Beethoven's Ninth Symphony nor the Sistine Capel. Instead, los rojiblancos are more closely related to terms like "mob, roughness, stray dog, punk music or graffiti on a train car."
Sincerely, the elitism that transpires from those words is repulsive, and I can't stand the disdain for stray dogs. But wait, because that is not even the worst part of the column.
John Carlin compares Atlético Madrid to the Sinaloa cartel
After imaging Simeone as a tough military official, Carlin went for the players and the level of commitment shown to his coach. And just at that moment, he dropped the deplorable comparison with the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the world.
"I saw the 1 to 0 in Manchester, I saw the looks of the Cholo players (a word that means mestizo in Mexico), and I thought of the Sinaloa cartel, of tattooed thugs willing to kill or be killed for the cause," Carlin wrote.
I know Carlin is not being literal here, but the idea of throwing the comparison with an entity that actually has killed thousands and thousands of people is sickening and irresponsible. It is also incomprehensible for a person with his experience.
Then Carlin goes and goes comparing Atlético players with "dangerous prisoners" and even fantasizes about their interviews with Simeone before getting the job. Topics? Their feelings about wasting time on the field, cheating and injuring opponent players.
Yes, Simeone is not a saint, and his methods could be described as questionable. But, again, the Sinaloa cartel? Seriously?
Of course, the article was picked up by several people who condemned Carlin's work, calling it "shameful" and "execrable," among other terms.
Tenía respeto por John Carlin pero esto de comparar al Atleti del Cholo #Simeone con el cartel de Sinaloa o llamar a sus jugadores “macarras tatuados dispuestos a morir o matar” es vergonzoso y el foco... No, no todo vale ni en el fútbol ni en el periodismo. pic.twitter.com/S6rHYRUgbM— Veronica Brunati (@verobrunati) April 12, 2022
Yo tenía en estima a John Carlin y me parecía un tipo sensato, pero su artículo me ha resultado execrable. Puedes estar a favor o no de un estilo, gustarte o no, pero meterse en comparaciones y acusaciones tan graves y de mal gusto es infame.— alex (@alexbummer) April 13, 2022
@tjcope opinión sobre el artículo del inglés Carlin sobre el cartel de Sinaloa que según él es el Atlético de Madrid, vale cualquier cosa en este país, si te todo cuando no eres de este país, vergonzoso— (@pilier_mele) April 13, 2022
Que asco de John Carlin .
El city de un estado que no respeta a mujeres ni ningún derecho humano es aristocracia y nosotros el cartel de Sinaloa
Pudrete hijo de puta https://t.co/ouH6QSyZUg— Jorge , Madrid ⚪ (@Jorgeatleti11) April 12, 2022
All that said, now I can't stop imagining Simeone cutting Carlin's column and gluing it on the dressing room walls of the Wanda Metropolitano to motivate and inspire his players against Manchester City, showing the world that their style can also win titles.