Some time ago, a couple of rotten fruit prompted a revolution and covert operations to unsettle the source of the problem. Defiance and manipulation attempted to disrupt Joe's fruit market in an effort to teach him a lesson of how to properly manage his product. Of course, peaches and plums aren't always the best comparison to real life drama, but in this instance their telling tale brings a shocking resemblance to recent events in France.
You could say Nicolas Anelka was the rotten peach during the World Cup. Perhaps Evra was the plum. Poor old Raymond Domenech was Joe. Just as Joe was targeted as the source of the bad tasting fruit, so too was Domenech accused of creating a bitter taste throughout the French camp in South Africa. "I don't make the peaches, I sell the peaches." Just like Joe, Domenech stood firm in his defense, and could never have anticipated the foul-mouthed vitriol Anelka spewed out of his mouth in the locker room, and the subsequent strike by the players.
At the end of the day though, just like Kramer and Jerry, the villains got what they deserved. "You're banned!!" Thus said Joe, and now says the French Football Federation.
In an official statement on their website today, the FFF handed down the following bans:
"Nicolas Anelka is sanctioned with an 18-game suspension from selection for the France team."
"A five-game suspension from selection for the France team has been issued to Patrice Evra."
"Franck Ribery will have to serve a three-game suspension."
"Jeremy Toulalan is punished with one-game suspension."
"The commission takes note of the explanation provided by Eric Abidal, who has not been sanctioned."
Wow. I couldn't be more pleased with this outcome. For Anelka, this spells the end of his international career playing for France. At 31, 18 matches covers at least 2-3 years leaving him an old fart when reinstatement is possible (assuming the manager even considers taking him back). Evra, as captain and ringleader of the summer shenanigans, should have received more in my mind. Although 5 still rules him out of a couple European Championship qualifiers and his absence will be felt.
All in all justice was served, and the most rotten of fruit will now wilt away on the sidelines. Nobody is bigger than club. And surely no one man or team is bigger than country.