Two days ago, Pedro Sánchez turned up at Spain's national team base at Las Rozas, one of his first acts as new president of the Spanish government. It was necessary for him to explain, let's even say apologise, to one of the key players in the team, number one goalkeeper, David de Gea. De Gea had made headlines some time back relating to a rather ugly situation involving prostitutes, which Sánchez had imprudently felt impelled to involve himself in. He said something along the lines of not feeling comfortable knowing that 'people like that' represented Spain. After several months, De Gea was exonerated from the accusations, and the political leader had to make amends with the player face-to-face.
New respect for sport for Minister of Sport
Following that pleasing engagement, and with a new government in place, we in Spain find ourselves with a new minister for 'Culture and Sport', one who at times has shown little interest for the latter - his tweets are out there for all to see. Yesterday he took up his role and spent the day appearing with the King alongside the boys of La Roja, and he backed down from his nonsense tweets. Magnificent! As the Bible says, 'there will be more joy in heaven for one wicked person who repents than for over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance'. If Màxim Huerta has been handed a gift of a ministerial remit that impels him to look at sport with a respect that he never felt before, then it's a good thing for him, and for the rest of us.
Sport, politics and society
There are two lessons in this. In his first few days, the new president had to apologise to the national team goalkeeper for the flippancy with which he judged him, in a case for which he was only loosely connected to. Then, we have a new Minister of Culture and Sport who is now facing an uncomfortable challenge after writing anti-sports tweets - including "I hate sport. It's just a way to overvalue physical attributes" - that could have been deleted. It is good that both have had to back down. This is appreciated. But I'll take this opportunity to point out how easy it is to undermine sport but in doing so there can sometimes be a cost.