My response to Jerrad Peters' April 6 soccer column, Somewhere, Mussolini is smiling, which seeks to diminish the reaction by English people to Sunderland having hired an avowed fascist, Paolo Di Canio, as its manager, oscillates between disgust, anger and complete shock.
Peters claims those opposing Di Canio's hiring -- such as a trade union removing its banner from the stadium -- are paranoid and "fear mongering." Furthermore, he outlandishly suggests that left-wing politics and right-wing politics are to be equally associated with soccer hooliganism. This is simply not the case given the ultranationalist, right-wing displays of racism consistently being encountered in soccer stadiums from Verona to Jerusalem.
Finally, Peters insults those who have struggled for generations against fascism's violent, might-based ideology by calling their protests childish.
Either Peters is completely ignorant of history regarding fascism's tendency to mass murder, disappearance of its opponents and xenophobia, or somehow, by choosing to diminish its critics, he has sympathies with it. That an article that lightly suggests that Mussolini is smiling made it into the Sports section is a despicable commentary on the judgment of editors, or of their politics, or both.