Disagreement in sports is nothing unusual. We often see teammates and coaches having a go at each other, which results in reprimands and fines – but never jail sentences.
In another first, a UAE court has imprisoned two professional soccer players for making a video in which they made indecent gestures and criticized their manager's team selection policy.
The players in question are UAE international Abdullah Qassem and another one of his Al-Dhafra teammates. Qassem, 29, is accused of getting in front of the camera and animatedly criticizing UAE manager Mahdi Ali's choices.
In his defense, the video – which was filmed by the other unnamed teammate – wasn't supposed to be made public, but it somehow got leaked. But even if it was leaked on purpose, so what? Qassem isn't threatening anyone. He is merely questioning his coach's in-game tactics and selection criteria.
However, a UAE court sees the whole case differently. In the twisted logic of theirs, Qassem used the state's telecommunications services to hurt the sentiments of others. It's apparently termed as a major violation of public ethics.
We work so hard to convince that those super-rich creatures in the deserts of the Middle East have actual working brains just like the rest of us. Then something like this happens and ruins all our good work.