Serie A

Too Many Words

3 min read
Cover Image for Too Many Words
Chris McMenamy
Chris McMenamy

How hard is it to say sorry? Just sorry. Not sorry you feel that way. Not sorry, but…Not sorry if I did this or that. Just say sorry. Seemingly, it is beyond the wit of Napoli. Their two days late ‘apology’ to Victor Osimhen for mocking him on TikTok was so heavily caveated, you’d think it was written by an AI lawyer.


Mocking your best player for missing a penalty on a social media site made for 12-year-olds is one thing, but I’d say the previous video of him with racial overtones was more problematic. Nevertheless, it was the twelve second clip of a baby voice making fun of a missed penalty that almost broke Napoli’s season in September.


The club’s statement on Thursday iterated that they never wanted to offend a “treasure of the club,” reinforcing their position by saying they rejected bids for Osimhen during pre-season. Ok, cool, but what about the weird videos?


“Social media, in particular TikTok, has always used an expressive form of language with a light heart and creativity, without wanting to, as in the case with Osimhen as protagonist, have any intention of insult or derision.” Great. Now we know it’s not TikTok’s fault. Maybe they’ll just throw the social media manager under the bus? That would be sensible.


“In any case, if Victor perceived any offence towards him, this was not what the club intended.” And there it is, the non-apology.


Look, if that’s how he feels, then we’re sorry. But only if that’s how it made him feel. Not because some wannabe comedian made a silly video for engagement. Must feed the content machine, otherwise how can we call ourselves a big club?

 Who else would alienate their manager right after winning the title?

Perhaps I’m being swallowed up in reactionary fervour, but the more I think about how Napoli are run, the more I’m convinced that owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is a bit of a balloon. Who else would totally alienate their best manager in a generation, and probably ever, right after winning their first scudetto since 1990? How many clubs would reluctantly let their ultras ‘protest’ during their biggest home game in decades, rather than just placate them and deal with the consequences later? 


But worst of all, I can’t think of another club daft enough to mock their star player days after he missed a penalty in a poor draw that put pressure on your new manager that seems to lack the support of (some) key players. 


A silly video about a player who you seem to value so dearly yet have twiddled thumbs while presiding over his new contract. It’s entirely possible that Osimhen gets through this season and runs down his contract through to 2025, when he can leave for nothing, or Napoli cash in on him for a fee well below what they could/should get. All because of TikTok.


There really isn’t a rationale to writing this piece, other than to ponder how hard it is to just say: “We’re sorry.”


Maybe it’ll all be fine and some of us, me included, are overreacting. Probably. It usually is, but Napoli’s unapologetic apology can’t have done much to help persuade Osimhen to stick around. Rather, it’ll once again be the undying adulation of the fans and people in the city that acts as the tie that binds Naples and Osimhen.


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