With apologies to Dave Wills, Salomon Kalou denies his celebration after scoring the second goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough Wednesday night was a show of solidarity with Ivorian political activist Antoine Assale Tiemoko. After reading Kalou’s claim that said gesture was inspired by the WWE’s John Cena, the Guardian’s Russell Brand isn’t quite buying it (“If you type TiÃ©moko’s name into a search engine you’ll be swiftly led to an online petition that you can then send to the president of the Ivory Coast which I have now done as it seemed so effortless and worthwhile; if you search for John Cena you get to see pictures of the hunk in his pants, so both lines of inquiry have their own rewards.”)
Were Kalou and Drogba expressing support through hand signals to TiÃ©moko I think it would be wonderful; two young millionaires presumed caged in their own tower of privilege conveying compassionate concern against corruption in their fatherland; that would be surprising and cause for optimism. If they just both like wrestling it would be less surprising and considerably less romantic.
If I were to discover that during the ’68 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carlos held their fists aloft upon the medal winners podium they were not making a Black Power salute but working out a dance routine to the Tom Jones hit of that year, Delilah, a little piece of history would be tarnished. In spite of their denial I would like to think this controversial physical symbol was in support of TiÃ©moko. Fingers crossed.