Jonathan de Guzman: No.

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Even if Julian de Guzman is telling the whole truth about his brother for once, Canadian national team fans should have more pride in their team and their colours than to let Jonathan hop into the relay halfway through the race.

Today Julian de Guzman was in the news, again, telling Sportsnet that his brother Jonathan de Guzman is totally ready and willing to play for Canada, again, and that this will totally be a good thing, again[1].

When I took journalism classes I was told I shouldn't write articles sourced exclusively by demonstrably unreliable[2], completely biased third parties. Yet here's Sportsnet running with "Julian says Jonathan is totes coming home!" even though the last time Julian said it, in an interview to James Sharman at the Score[3], Julian was later shot down spectacularly and publicly on the very same site.

I don't really hold this story against Sportsnet; after all, Julian spouting more unsupported conjecture disguised as fact about what his brother wants to do is certainly newsworthy. I'm talking about it, for one thing.

I do object to Julian de Guzman using the morning before the biggest Canadian men's national team game of the year to turn the spotlight on his family. This is a guy who publicly stabbed Dale Mitchell and the Canadian Soccer Association in the back[4], who left Toronto in a blaze of the sourest of grapes[5], and who has been linked to more selfish behaviour around the Canadian men's national team by reliable if unprintable reports. Whatever benefit of the doubt Julian de Guzman might initially have had has been lost for years.

I also object to the idea that Canada has so little self-respect that we'd be willing to accept Jonathan de Guzman at this late stage of World Cup qualifying, provided we win this afternoon. Are we really so debased and pathetic? I am second-to-none in my disdain for the CSA and their strategies but even I have more pride in them than that.

It's not just that Jonathan de Guzman could have played for Canada, should have played for Canada, has been asked to play for Canada, and has constantly turned Canada down to chase a lottery ticket with a Dutch national team he had no connection to beyond the mercenary. It's that, now, if Julian de Guzman is telling the whole truth for once, he's quite willing to join up now that his teammates have done all the hard work. I rant about Dwayne De Rosario, his disloyalty, and his lack of work ethic, but at least when Stephen Hart asked De Rosario to go play on an overgrown cricket pitch in St. Lucia he went. He and his teammates have earned the right to play in the hex with some good games, plenty of hard miles, and tough conditions. Jonathan de Guzman could have been involved in that but chose not to be, and now wants the choice games against the United States and Mexico as a reward for his cowardice.

If down the road Jonathan de Guzman, sincerely repentant, says he wants to come to friendlies, to the dullest games of the Gold Cup, to the cricket pitches and baseball stadiums of CONCACAF, to whereever Canada may call, we can forgive and forget. But not now, not when he's done absolutely nothing to deserve taking a roster spot from someone who's been with us since the beginning.

What kind of message would that send to the proud Canadians? "Push over, your hard work was meaningless if an attention-grabbing flash in the pan wants it"? If someone like Iain Hume or even De Rosario, who got Canada to this point, loses out to Jonathan de Guzman on the verge of the biggest games of their lives then both they and their friends on the team would have every right to be outraged and maybe unforgiving.

And what kind of message would it send to those like Junior Hoilett who many fans still hope will represent Canada one day? "Don't worry. If you want to walk into the team, we will make room for you at any point. You can dictate your terms." In no way is that in Canada's interest, now or in the future.

Maybe you want to do whatever it takes to win. But if you have no loyalty to the players or to the integrity of the colours, then why the hell are you cheering for Canada in the first place? If all you want is the thrill of victory no matter what the cost then go cheer for Spain because you're missing the point completely. Jonathan de Guzman refused to be Canadian when times were tough and we needed him most. If he wants to wear the Maple Leaf now that we may return to our rightful place in the soccer world then he can fuck right off.


[1] — Madani, Arash. "Jonathan de Guzman considering Canada." Sportsnet.ca, October 16, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012. http://www.sportsnet.ca/soccer/2014-world-cup/2012/10/16/jonathan_de_guzman_canada_david_hoilett/.

[2] — "Jonathan de Guzman remains committed to the Netherlands." The Score's Footy Blog, June 12, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012. http://blogs.thescore.com/footyblog/2012/06/12/jonathan-de-guzman-remains-committed-to-the-netherlands/.

[3] — Dunlop, Brendan. "VIDEO: Julian de Guzman 1-on-1." The Score's Footy Blog, November 29, 2011. Accessed October 16, 2012. http://blogs.thescore.com/footyblog/2011/11/29/video-julian-de-guzman-1-on-1/.

[4] — Logothetis, Paul. "De Guzman: 'Amateur' Canada needs changes." USA Today, January 29, 2009. Accessed October 16, 2012. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/2009-01-29-1149640690_x.htm.

[5] — Robertson, Daniel. "De Guzman fires off at TFC, Mariner after winner vs. 'Caps." MLSSoccer.com, September 16, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2012. http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/09/16/de-guzman-takes-aim-tfc-mariner-after-winner-vs-caps.

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