Brian Phillips properly takes the Headmaster of FIFA to the woodshed for his ill-informed remarks about American soccer:
So, OK. What bugged MLS fans about this was pretty much what bugs everybody Blatter decides to distraction-troll; at 76, the dude simply plays with an impossibly well-crafted blend of cluelessness and malice. He’s the Johnnie Walker Blue of grandfatherly, passive-aggressive smack talk. You never know whether he’s misinterpreting facts because he’s unacquainted with them or because he’s working some Big Lie–type long con and it suits him to deny a trend. So, for instance, if he doesn’t know that MLS is now the third-ranking American pro sport in terms of live attendance, or that as league commissioner Don Garber emphasized in his response it has recently signed personal-best sponsorship and TV deals totaling $230 million, or that it’s well along in its successful long-term program of stadium-infrastructure improvement — that’s maddening, because he’s the president of FIFA and he should know stuff. If he knows it and he’s deliberately ignoring it, that’s maddening because he’s the president of FIFA and he shouldn’t be a smug, puffy liar, probably. It’s a mark of the truly great cultural trolls, the Trumps and Becks and Morgans, that they make you hate them for being stupid enough to be as wrong as they are while simultaneously making you hate them for being smart enough to exploit the stupidity of their audience. Blatter takes the confused-moron-but-also-evil-genius routine to a whole other plane, though, because you can’t even say whose stupidity he’s trying to exploit. He’s rousing no rabble — brilliantly. He’s hosting history’s most appalling drive-time talk show for an audience of zero, and somehow he keeps signing bigger and bigger contracts.