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More Soccer and Comparative Constitutionalism

The U.S. sports network ESPN has produced a fascinating documentary called The Two Escobars. It examines the link between Columbian soccer and the various drug cartels there during the period of the ascendancy of Pablo Escobar, who led the Medellin Cartel. The star soccer player who is the film's focus is Andres Escobar. He unfortunately obtained international notoriety by scoring an "own goal" against his team in a World Cup Game against the USA. Escobar was a great soccer player and a very honest individual, according to the film. Moreover, Columbia was then one of the best teams in the world. Yet one of the reasons for the national team's ascendancy apparently was Columbian drug money that helped fund the country's players. This was called "narco-soccer." Unfortunately, Andres Escobar was eventually murdered in part because of his soccer mistake.

Without giving away the ending, the film has several aspects that purport to touch on the Columbian Constitution. First, Pablo Escobar apparently got elected to the national legislature as part of an effort to obtain constitutional immunity and to avoid being extradited to the U.S. Then he managed to eventually get a constitutional amendment passed that removed the extradition provisions. Moreover, he became a bit of a Robin Hood figure by building many soccer fields in poorer communities. I hope people have a chance to watch this film and learn about one country where there was a tangled link between sports, drugs, politics, and constitutionalism.


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