On the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, which resulted in the death of 96 fans at the FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, ESPN aired a powerful new documentary directed by Daniel Gordon detailing the events of that day and the ongoing fight for justice by the families of the victims. The film, which cannot be shown in the U.K. until next year due to the current legal proceedings, was a harrowing and comprehensive first exposure to the the initial tragedy and the cover-up that followed for many viewers in the United States.
The initial response from viewers who previously knew about Hillsborough to those who had no idea has largely been the same mix of shock, disbelief and an immediate sense that they watched a brilliant and informative work. The film sorts through the myths, the lies and ultimately the truth of what happened on April 15, 1989, which has consumed the last 25 years for those affected by the disaster. Interviews with Liverpool fans who were in the crush, the families of those who died and the police officers at the scene who are forever haunted by their inability to save those lives offer a devastating humanity that often gets lost in the discussions and accusations related to this topic.
The video above, in which ESPN's Keith Olbermann discusses the film with director Daniel Gordon, provides a good primer for the film if you haven't seen it yet (if you haven't, you should seek it out). And if you have seen it, it serves as useful added context and explanation of what you watched.
This was the start of ESPN's 30 for 30: Soccer Stories series, which will air in the lead-up to the World Cup. Next week, two more films be broadcast — Maradona '86 and The Opposition, which details Chile's 1974 World Cup qualifying campaign in the shadow of a military coup. If you think FIFA is looking the other way now regarding Qatar, wait until you see their investigators laugh through a tour of a stadium in which tortured political prisoners were being held at gunpoint just out of sight mere feet away.
Having seen both of them already, I really can't recommend them enough, either.
- - - - - - -