Olivier Giroud on an aircraft carrier, or in an air base alongside French soldiers, this is the clip that Internet users will soon be able to discover. The attacker of the French team, sensitive to everything that has to do with the military, has agreed to shoot this little film to promote the notions of patriotism and commitment, at the initiative of the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
Not long ago, it is already Olivier Giroud, but also N’Golo Kanté, Eugénie Le Sommer and Amel Majri, two players from Les Bleues, who took part in a spot against bullying at school, this time at the instigation of the ministry of National Education. The footballers of the France team, driven by their recent successes, have become essential relays of government messages. Must-haves?
“The players are in great demand,” notes Philippe Kastendeuch, vice-president of the UNFP, the footballers union. They have this faculty to train and to influence and, for me, one does not ask them enough. At the UNFP, they are encouraged to do so when it comes to good causes. Besides, we created a movement Positive Football and a program in this direction Player For Society. Generally, the defended causes do not lend themselves to controversy. Whether it is the fight against school bullying, respect for barrier gestures during the coronavirus epidemic, support for sick children … Athletes are rarely caught in the act of playing into the hands of a political party. “
The last video called “Message from the French football team to the students of France” has however aroused much criticism. It is a short film in which nine players from the national team intervene, in turn, to recall the values of the Republic and defend the teachers after the assassination of Samuel Paty. This order from the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, to the President of the French Football Federation, Noël Le Graët, was to serve as support for teachers.
“But, pedagogically, it is unusable as it stands”, deplores François Da Rocha, vice-president of the APHG (Association of teachers of history – geography). “From a pedagogical point of view, the fact that there is not the representativeness of all the players is counterproductive with certain students,” says this author of a thesis devoted to the players of the France team football since 1904. There is no player identified as Muslim or of color, the only black players being mixed race or from privileged social backgrounds. These players could have had a place to hold. Do they not represent France enough? Didn’t we want to put them in an overhang? And, then, who is at the origin of the speech? The players are sincere but we can see that they recite their text. It’s a failed campaign, not to mention that there are only players from the French men’s team and the Blue are absent. “
These criticisms against a government campaign organized in haste did not fail to reflect on the players. In particular those absent accused of not having wanted to take part in this spot because of their confession, as if the jersey of the France team required to relay the government word. “This calls into question a main point: Who are the heroes of young people today?, analysis Stanislas Frenkiel, lecturer at the UFR Staps of the University of Artois. We are witnessing a crisis of the elites, and we are asking footballers to embody the nation while it would be more for teachers, and intellectuals, to do so. Despite everything, I think it’s not up to footballers to carry a message of appeasement and reconciliation. But who else to ask? “
“We ask them to carry values that exceed them”
This video refers to the old sea serpent of the instrumentalization of the athlete, and the footballer in particular, by political power. For Sylvain Kastendeuch, however, this debate has no place. “When ministries ask us, he assures us, they are politically neutral appeals for help. There are no ulterior motives or ideology. “In the North, François Da Rocha believes on the contrary that footballers today don a costume much too big for them. “We ask them to carry values that go beyond them. Moreover, we would surely not have mobilized the 2011 France team for the same purposes. “
“Politicians are happy to find them to send messages on unity, adds the academic Stanislas Frenkiel, and also to question national identity when it comes to themes such as halal meat,” the Marseillaise where the scum. But the footballers also find their account there because they get closer to the political elite and derive from it symbolic advantages if not material. “
Summoned to succeed in sport, to be exemplary from all points of view, the Blues must now “make a nation” as Emmanuel Macron declared before the World Cup. We are beyond “Vive la République!” »Launched by Antoine Griezmann during the 2018 World Cup. The footballer has become a VRP with the younger generations of a Republic in need of unity.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr