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October 11, 2017

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle trots out tired soccer jokes, should be removed from office

Legislator from Northeast Philly lazily insults sport at tough moment for American fans

It’s 4 a.m. on Wednesday and I’m having trouble sleeping. Fresh in my mind are two things.

The first is the thrill of watching Lionel Messi seize irrefutable G.O.A.T.-status with a hat trick to lift his nation into the World Cup tournament.

The second is the agony of watching Pennsylvania’s Christian Pulisic lose a chance to perform on the biggest of international stages next year as he and the United States Men’s National Team nightmarishly dropped a qualifier to Trinidad and Tobago.

You see, I like soccer to the point of taking it personally when those who don’t like soccer trot out tired clichés to bolster their inability to appreciate the sport.

So, why did I feel the need to get out of bed in the dark of night to make sure you would know I feel this way?

Enter U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, the cherub-cheeked Northeast Philadelphian who rode a “raised by Irish immigrants in Northeast Philly with a similarly politically minded brother” origin story to victory in a hotly contested 2014 primary.

Several hours ago, he took a break from whining about the president visiting Pennsylvania to weigh in with his valuable opinions about the USMNT’s stunning loss.

It started with this “idc about foot sport” gem in the minutes after the loss:

And, it continued with the laziest of interpretations of the sport itself:

Ever the “Olney street tough,” he again got ratio’d when he doubled down by turning to high-minded Trumpian “snowflakes” and “ratings will tank” insults:

Translation: Hur duh durr, I didn’t realize my appeal to my “working class roots” would cause  enough blowback that I'd have to claim the post was “tongue in cheek.”

Do I take this personally enough to point out that exactly 0 of the 21 pieces of legislation sponsored or cosponsored by Boyle since 2015 have yet become law?

Or that his move to seize that federal office opened the door for state Rep. Martina White to turn a blue district red?

Or that he’s wasted time weighing in on the prospects of Kid Rock serving as a U.S. senator?

Absolutely not. That would be silly and absurd.

But I do take it personally enough to point out that Boyle represents a portion of a city that’s part of a continent-wide bid to bring the very international soccer tournament (and its Scrooge McDuck stacks of cash) to the city.

And I do take it personally enough to note that Boyle represents residents of a city that saw immigrants who call this great city home compete in an exceptional Unity Cup event that’s again started up in recent weeks.

One might think a legislator who plays the pro-immigrant card would – y’know – not spit all over the sport many immigrants love. But, nope, that’s not what happened here.

Instead, a Capitol Hill newb trotted out tired “jokes” and “laugh lines.” Cool stuff.

Listen, a lot of people don’t like soccer. That’s fine. I do, and I always will.

But Boyle, the "eternally hopeful Philly sports fan," decided it would be fun to do so at the exact moment that people who actually care about the sport’s sustained growth in the United States dealt with the equivalent of Donovan McNabb puking away the Super Bowl and Mitch Williams meatballing away the World Series on the same night.

That's not tongue-in-cheek funny; it's immature, ill-mannered and childish.

Well, time to get back to bed. After all, I plan on taking Boyle’s advice about watching the baseball playoffs. After all, the Cubs – and not the pro team in Boyle’s town – play this afternoon.

In between innings, I’ll take a few minutes to think about how entertaining it would be for a Republican soccer-fan candidate to come along and knock him out of a re-election bid next year.

I mean, I was really worried about the Democrats’ chances of narrowing the partisan gap in the U.S. House of Representatives, being as liberal as I am and all. Then I remembered that I – like many other Pennsylvanians and Americans – like soccer.