Patrick Reusse writes very necessary take on soccer, scarves, manliness

Sorry, Minnesota United fan, but Patrick Reusse's got some stuff he thinks about you and your scarf.

Sorry, Minnesota United fan, but Patrick Reusse's got some stuff he thinks about you and your scarf. Star Tribune

What luck, local soccer fans! 

Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse went to a Minnesota United FC game. And, in case you're getting bored of celebratory prose about the new Major League Soccer team's swift turnaround, or in-depth analysis on where they've improved, don't worry. Reusse, as an admitted outsider, has a perspective you won't encounter often in the soccer press.

It is this: Those scarves you wear? You look like ladies.

Reusse, also a sports talk radio host for ESPN, offered this insight in a blog post published Sunday night, a couple hours after the United won 2-0 over Sporting Kansas City, to that point one of the best teams in MLS this season.

Top draft pick Abu Danladi scored his first goal, and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth didn't allow any, despite playing through a busted-and-bleeding nose. This was maybe Minnesota's most impressive game all season. 

And Reusse would get to all that eventually. But first, the scarves. As the columnist writes, he was presented with one pregame by Bill McGuire. (Because, if you're going to go to your first MLS game, you might as well sit with the billionaire owner.) 

Reusse's response, as quoted by Reusse, was immediate: "My No. 1 complaint about soccer is men wearing scarves." 

If true, then Reusse is really going to love soccer. Wait until he notices what's happening on the field. No scarves! 

He continued: "I don’t think it’s manly to wear a scarf other than when shoveling snow, but that’s just me, and I have some peculiarities."

Having made the scarves-are-for-chicks joke, Reusse proceeded to circle it like a drainspout, coming back to it repeatedly in his otherwise positive write-up.

Shuttleworth, the goalkeeper, is said to have had a "shutout" on Sunday, and not a "clean sheet," says Reusse, who clarifies: "Anyone who mentions 'clean sheet' in my presence and happens to be a male wearing a scarf around his neck, I simply can’t be responsible for what happens next."

What do you suppose would happen next? Tea time? Baguettes and a romantic walk along the riviera? 

At the very end, Reusse gracefully pirouetted back to his opening joke, writing: "I do know spiffy when seeing it on an athletic field, and the passes from [Miguel] Ibarra were all of that. Which is opposite of scarves on men. Not spiffy."

Reusse's Archie Bunker-esque conservatism on sports fashion drew the ire of James Bridget Gordon, a writer from Paste Magazine, who said hot takes like this help "normalize homophobia." Gordon goes on:

"Whether it was intended or not, Reusse is establishing a social norm that says that male (or male-presenting) soccer fans wearing scarves is weird and wrong and bad. He also implied that violence is an acceptable remedy for this thing that is weird and wrong and bad. And no, Patrick Reusse is never going to try to punch me in the face for being too effeminate in his general vicinity. But someone else will. That's the world that Reusse helps build and reify whenever he pens ignorant stuff like this."

We would add that scarves needn't be seen as some girls-only accessory. Historically, they aren't. According to this short history of the garment, scarves adorned some of the Chinese emperor Qin Shih Huang's famed Terracotta Army statues

"These men were dressed for battle. One of the more interesting details shows that many of them wore scarves, and that they tied them in much the same way we tie our scarves today: the cloth was folded around the neck back-to-front, and then looped so that the ends hung down the front of the chest. It’s so interesting because we see the same sort of garb worn in the same way on Roman soldiers depicted on the famous triumphal column of the emperor Trajan erected in Rome in 113 AD."

What would Pat Reusse do if some wussy Roman soldier came up to him wearing a scarf? What if the Roman said the goalkeeper had a "clean sheet"?

It's obvious when he thinks of a scarf, Reusse thinks this, or this... when he could just as easily picture this. Or this.

Or, for that matter, this.

Asked about the response to his fashion preferences, Reusse said he's been "been joking about scarves for 3-4 years on the radio."

He's not backing down -- "I think they look stupid" -- but reiterates, as he wrote originally, that he's got "peculiarities." 

He added: "I also would say that anyone who read that piece and took it as a serious sociological statement is a moron."