The Game of Love and Unity Fanatical And/Or Mobster Homicide?
As we reported on Sunday, the Cricket World Cup took a turn for the depressing and macabre over the weekend. First, Pakistan lost in a shocking St. Patrick’s upset to Ireland, which led some Pakistani fans — outraged over their side’s early departure from the tournament — to riot while chanting “Death to Woolmer! Death to Inzi!,” referring to Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer and captain Inzaman ul-Haq. Then the big news hit — Bob Woolmer was found dead in his Jamaica hotel room on Sunday morning. Folks noted the sick coincidence of testosterone-fueled calls for Woolmer’s death and his actual demise, but few publicly wished to speculate that there might be a connection.
Well, the time for speculation is now. Jamaica police are now treating Woolmer’s death as suspicious — and while the cops are publicly downplaying the idea that there’s an ongoing homicide investigation, word is beginning to leak out — it looks like Woolmer may well have been murdered.
If true, this is just jawdropping. Nothing like this has ever occured in American sport — as obnoxious and obsessive as Red Sox fans are, no one tried to kill Grady Little after the 2003 ALCS. Joey Porter is an amateur, by comparison. But the scariest part is that — while there is obviously speculation that a criminally insane Pak fan is responsible — rumors are coming out that tie a possible Woolmer murder to match-fixing. After all, the Pakistan team does have a sordid history of involvement in gambling and match fixing, and Woolmer was allegedly set to discuss that underworld in a new autobiography. And there are rumors that the fix was in on the St. Patrick’s Day match.
So Woolmer was quite possibly murdered. And if he was, the culprit is probably either A) an obsessed “fan,” or — more likely — B) a gambling syndicate. I can’t decide which is more depressing. If the police investigation reaveals that Woolmer was murdered, you really have to wonder whether the show can go on. But I’m sure it would– there’s too much money involved to call it off, despite the fact that it may well be tainted by fraud and, worse, by blood.
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