What Materazzi Said to Zidane: Newspapers All Over the World Weigh In

Papers around the world are covering Day 2 of the Materazzi insult. The Times includes the leading favorite, promoted by Zidane’s brother, that Materazzi called Zidane, who is Algerian by descent, “the son of Harkis”—a slur, referring to Algerians who fought on the French side in the war of independence. But Gazzetta in Italy undermines this claim. Quoted in the IHT, the paper reports that Materazzi called his insult an “insult of the kind you will hear dozens of times and that just slips out on the ground.”

“I certainly didn’t call him a terrorist,” he added. “I am ignorant. I don’t even know what an Islamic terrorist is; my only terrorist is her,” he said, pointing to his 10-month-old daughter, who was sleeping next to him on the plane that took the Italian team back to Italy.

The best story is from the Guardian, which does not hold back on its language in reporting:

Materazzi has not elaborated on what he did say, but one report suggested he responded [to Zidan'es challenge to take his shirt later] with: “I’d rather take the shirt off your wife.” He has, however, denied that he insulted Zidane’s mother or called the son of Algerian immigrants a terrorist. A lip reader employed by the BBC claimed Materazzi said: “I wish an ugly death to you and all your family,” and then told Zidane to “go fuck yourself”. Paris-based anti-racism group, SOS-Racism, had earlier said that “several very well informed sources” suggested Zidane was called a “dirty terrorist”.
“I did not call him a terrorist,” responded the Italian World Cup winner. “I am not a cultured person and I don’t even know what an Islamist terrorist is. For me the mother is sacred, you know that.”

Journalists should take a cue from the Guardian and not censor themselves. The story deserves linguistic candor. (C.f., Earl Butz, Agriculture Secretary under Nixon, who lost his job for a racist joke that none of the MSM would repeat in full…)