Today Show: Real Sports 19th Season Premiere – Ultra Soccer Fans
Bryant Gumbel stopped by the Today Show to talk about the 19th season premiere of Real Sports which airs April 16 2013. The Peabody Award-winning HBO series is kicking off the new season with a episode all about extreme soccer fans in Egypt who do more than sit back and enjoy the game.
The Ultras are a group of extremist soccer fans who have used soccer games as gathering areas when it was illegal to congregate in Egypt. They would use the games as meeting places to talk about their agendas and how to take back the government from a deadly regime.
Gumbel sat down with a number of Ultra members to talk about the impact they have had on the Egyptian government. One of the members took him to the bridge leading into the heart of Cairo where a deadly battle between the protesters, led by the Ultras, and the police played out about a year ago. Another member of the Ultras, one who had his face covered with a scarf, told Gumbel the Ultras were the ones leading the charge against the police. They were teaching people how to fight right there on the bridge. He said at one point police were changing into civilian clothing and hiding from the Ultras.
The police, the most repressive force the protesters have to deal with, got their revenge on the Ultras weeks later when they locked the doors of a soccer stadium and beat 72 Ultra members to death as they let people out one by one. The police, which were assembled under the ruler Hosni Mubarak, have stayed largely unchanged and unchecked since he was forced out of power. Even with all the fighting going on, Gumbel said he felt safe. He said everyone there thought he was Egyptian.
Today Show: Bryant Gumbel On the Masters
Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters this past week and Gumbel didn’t seem too surprised. The bigger story from the tournament focused on Tiger Woods though. He literally DQ’d himself when he told the press he had dropped his ball short, something that was also called in from a fan watching at home.
While Matt Lauer thought it was ridiculous that fans are allowed to call in when they see a mistake, Gumbel said that seems to be the direction golf is heading.
“Image if it happened in basketball,” Gumbel said. “A fan calls in to tell a ref someone was traveling.”