The Parable of the Unenlightened Chairman

Photograph by Noemi Llamas / Getty

There once was a man who rose to be the chairman of a national soccer league.

The national women’s team had just become the world champions and were parading in front of a massive crowd and international TV. It was a euphoric and historic moment.

As the captain led her team across the line of officials on the makeshift stage, she came to the national chairman, who enthusiastically embraced her, held her head in both hands and gave her a full-frontal kiss on the lips. What could she do but just pass it off with a laugh?

Was it a thoughtless, spontaneous expression of joy and celebration by the chairman? Or an opportunistic opening to satisfy a premeditated fantasy?

The team at first laughed it off too – it was what they always did when men took advantage of them. But this was enough. The chairman made no apology so the whole team decided they could not represent their country while the chairman remained in office. They would go on strike until he resigned. Their demand was supported by other officials of the national league, who also resigned in solidarity with the team.

An emergency meeting of the league was arranged. The Chairman refused to step down and emphatically repeated over and over again that he would not resign. Some male officials in the meeting applauded him.

The Chairman began to justify himself, saying the kiss was consensual. The team captain denied it. If only the Chairman had admitted and apologised.

But on the other hand, by digging his own grave, the unenlightened chairman gave the country its own ‘Me Too!’ moment it was desperately needing.

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