Whitley's Believe It or Not: Here's one more reason to not drink from the World Cup

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun

I’ll admit, I wasn’t planning to watch a lot of the World Cup. But after hearing FIFA President Gianni Infantino, I vow to watch two penguins playing cornhole before tuning into soccer’s big extravaganza.

The problem isn’t so much the soccer as the clown in charge. Infantino refuses to admit FIFA might have chosen a better host country than Qatar. In a pre-tourney speech Saturday, he said that any European who criticizes the move is a hypocrite.

“We should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people,” Infantino said.

No doubt, European history is riddled with bad actors. But as far as I know, no country currently executes gay people, or has been credibly accused of killing thousands of migrant workers in a mad rush to build air-conditioned soccer stadiums so Infantino and his cronies can sip Dom Perignon and count their bribe money in comfort.

Meanwhile, Jose Six-Pack from Ecuador can’t even get Bud Light during a match.

At the last minute, Qatar reneged on its promise to allow beer sales at stadiums. That’s why Ecuadorian fans chanted “We Want Beer!” at Sunday’s opening match. Expect all of them to be rounded up, flogged and deported by Wednesday.

But take heart, all you crazies who believe in human rights. Infantino says he knows what it’s like to be discriminated against.

“As a child at school, I was bullied because I had red hair and freckles,” he explained.

It’s too bad the Qataris don’t arrest people for looking like Howdy Doody. Infantino might wise up if he spent a few days with real victims of persecution ...

This is the real Marlboro Man

Stud of the Week: “Uncle Chen.” That’s the name of a 50-year-old Chinese guy who chain-smoked an entire pack of cigarettes while running the Xin’anjiang Marathon. He finished 574th out of more than 1,500 runners in an astounding time of 3 hours and 26 minutes.

Stud II: UF sophomore Parker Valby, who finished second in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. And she did it without smoking a single cigarette. With all due respect to Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne, Valby is the best runner on campus.

Dud of the Week: Every FBS football team in the state of Florida except FSU. Miami, UCF, USF, FIU, FAU and UF went 0-6. Though at least none of them lost 63-38 to South Carolina.

Stud/Dud of the Week: Dwight Howard, who had 38 points, 25 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks in his debut in Taiwan’s T1 League. For his next trick, the 36-year-old Howard plans to run a marathon against all Asian chain smokers not named Uncle Chen. ...

Go Figure Department: After scoring zero points against Florida, South Carolina’s offense racked up nine TDs against Tennessee. The Gamecocks had scored only nine TDs all season.

That explains why Tennessee fans were chanting “We Need Beer!” throughout the second half. ...                

Wimbledon finally catching up to the 21st century

Headline of the Week: “Wimbledon finally changes all-white rule for women” from Yahoo! Sports.

What is this, 1957?

It turns out Wimbledon is finally allowing colored undershorts, as long as they don’t have a picture of Prince Andrew on the bum. ...

The Washington Post reported that Fox was going to use a “minimal contingent” to cover the World Cup until state-owned Qatar Airways offered free flights to talent and technicians. Fox denied it will be unduly influenced and said it was mere coincidence that all female personnel missed their connecting flights in Dusseldorf. ...

Raiders owner Mark Davis gave coach Josh McDaniel a vote of confidence last week, noting “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

According to the Discovery Channel, it took 800 years for Rome to reach its peak after starting as a farming settlement. Davis then announced he was extending McDaniel’s contract through the 2821-2822 season. ...

Kudos to the Australian Open, which reportedly lifted its ban on Novak Djokovic and will allow him to play despite not getting a Covid-19 vaccine. In response, the U.S. Open said it might allow Djokovic to play if he wears a Hazmat suit and doesn't get within six feet of a ball boy. 

This Just In: The SEC has announced that Tennessee’s loss was so bad, it will require Volunteer fans to rebuild the goal posts they tore down after the Alabama game. ...

The Washington Commanders disciplined a handful of players for drinking on the charter home from last week’s game in Philadelphia. Legend has it that ex-Cowboy Ed “Too Tall” Jones once drank 48 beers on a flight back to Dallas from Philadelphia. Chances are it wasn’t on Qatar Airways.

Clarification: Wimbledon will allow women to wear colored undershorts with pictures of Prince Andrews, as long as he’s not posing next to Jeffrey Epstein. ...

Captains of six European teams backed off plans to wear OneLove anti-discrimination armbands Monday after FIFA said they’d be given yellow cards for such a display. FIFA complimented government officials for their flexibility, noting Qatar initially planned to cut off the arms of anyone who wore the armband. ...

At his Monday press conference, Billy Napier said he will apologize for the next 3,000 years for losing to Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the same season.

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Till next week, have a Thanksgiving Day beverage drink for soccer tourists in Qatar. They need it.

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley