For a soccer world that's relieved to move on from of two weeks Luis Suárez-induced debate about the place of honor on the pitch, a small wrinkle has been introduced by Andrés Iniesta, scorer of the 116th minute goal that won Sunday's World Cup final for Spain.
Iniesta's goal, beating an offside trap by the Netherlands at the edge of their penalty box, was scored past Maarten Stekelenburg from about ten yards out, but had the Spanish midfielder exercised some of the on-the-spot moralizing some advocated for Suárez, the shot may have never happened.
That on-the-spot moralizing would hold you don't do something you know is wrong, but as Iniesta says regarding a goal that was later shown to be conclusively onside, he did not know what was right-and-wrong:
"I was only waiting for the pass from Cesc Fabregas and he delivered in a perfect way. He was very quick and for a moment I was alone and I really thought I was offside but I controlled it well and when I hit the ball I knew it had to go in," Iniesta told a news conference.
Iniesta clearly did the dishonorable thing, the thinking should hold. At the moment he received the ball, he thought he was offside. There is no way he could know, even after the goal, that he was onside. After all, linesmen have been proven fallible. Iniesta should have erred on the side of right, stopped the movement, and not taken advantage of a play that, to his knowledge, was outside the rules.
His revelation having tainted Spain's title, I will never look at Iniesta again. By intent, he's no better than Luis Suárez. You either live by a code or your don't. Suárez and Iniesta don't.
OK, enough snark. You get the point.
Can we stop this obscure morality play - quit fighting the obvious? These aren't life-and-death, choose-your-favorite-child decisions. It's soccer, and within reason, the code is winning. We can either recognize it and move-on or continue this antiquated moral gambit.