July 20, 2009

Fan Leaves Stands in Ugly Confrontation with David Beckham: In his first game back home with the L.A. Galaxy, a friendly with A.C. Milan, David Beckham was the subject of loud boos, heckling and banners including "23: Repent." At halftime, he motioned for one heckler to come down, prompting the man to jump out of the seats, where he was then subdued by security and taken away. "I said, 'You need to calm down and come shake my hand,' and he jumped over," Beckham said. Video of the confrontation. "He called out a drunk fan," one witness said of Beckham. "How stupid is that?"

posted by rcade to soccer at 01:12 PM - 31 comments

Perhaps, Beckham is surprised that there are a large number of US soccer fans who know enough about the game to realize his "commitment" to the Galaxy is only words, not deeds. He shouldn't be.

posted by sbacharach at 01:43 PM on July 20, 2009

Beckham's time in the U.S. is a complete disaster. How can the MLS get rid of this deal?

posted by rcade at 01:54 PM on July 20, 2009

I haven't read Grant Wahl's book, but I've heard him interviewed numerous times. It sounds like Beckham still brings a large financial windfall to the league well-justifying his price tag. Also, for good press and bad, he puts soccer back on the front page, or at least in the paper. The downside, of course, is that his attitude continues to make the MLS look like a 3rd tier league, which it is.

posted by sbacharach at 02:03 PM on July 20, 2009

I'm surprised that some booing got to him, considering what he went through in England in the 98/99 season.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:36 PM on July 20, 2009

I will never apologize for disliking soccer/football and perhaps my opinion here is relative to that disdain and or my relative lack of knowledge about the game; but aren't the Galaxy fans just pissed because they root for a team in a bastard stepchild league? And why wouldn't the guy take big $$ for working part-time? Shouldn't they be casting their derision on the team's management/ownership?

posted by Tigginator at 02:49 PM on July 20, 2009

Tigg - the fact that it's soccer is immaterial. Suppose Kobe Bryant buggers off to play in Italy for 50 million a year, missing half the Lakers season. Meanwhile, the Lakers struggle to the 7th seed in the playoffs and go out early because of it, all the while Kobe telling the LA fans that he is fully committed to the Lakers franchise. They'd have a right to be pissed off at the player (and yes, the management too for allowing it).

posted by sbacharach at 03:28 PM on July 20, 2009

Let's unwrap your premise, Tigginator. A sellout crowd of 27,000 attended the Galaxy's friendly against A.C. Milan. The team's average attendance at games is currently 26,000. You think all those people show up to express their displeasure because the MLS is a "bastard stepchild league"? Wouldn't it be easier for them to convey that feeling by, uh, not going at all?

posted by rcade at 03:38 PM on July 20, 2009

According to FIFA rules national call up takes precedent over any club play. Most thought he was at the end of his career and would not be playing for England in 2010.

Well everyone was wrong. Beckham is passing up a lot of cash to get himself in position to represent his country.

I think that trumps playing for the Galaxy...

posted by Landis at 03:48 PM on July 20, 2009

He couldv'e bought himself out of his Galaxy contract and gone to Milan full-time. Rather, he chooses to do it halfway while saying he's fully committed. Soccer fans respect that he wants to play for his country, but the manner in which he's going about it is disrespectful and dishonest.

posted by sbacharach at 04:03 PM on July 20, 2009

I thought the most interesting quote in the article was when Donovan whateverhisnameis - you know: the team's leading scorer who couldn't sell a ticket to his own mother - had the nerve to say "That's beyond my control" in response to a question about the fan reaction.

Oh really? Aren't you the guy who fueled this fire? The former and again team captain who cried to the media when he lost his tiara?

As for whatever Beckham was doing when he summoned that fan - it's all supposition and hearsay. Who knows his motivation. But there were no claims of hostility, aggression, or derision by him. He probably found it humorous, cuz US crowds are all puppies dogs and ice cream compared to the things international players are accustomed to seeing.

posted by MW12 at 04:31 PM on July 20, 2009

Calling a fan down to the field is out of line, and a player of Beckham knows it. That's just throwing fuel on the fire, and would warrant a fine in most leagues.

posted by dviking at 04:57 PM on July 20, 2009

Oh really? Aren't you the guy who fueled this fire?

I don't think Landon fueled the fire. Not with the more vocal supporters anyway. I highly doubt the book had any sway with LA Riot Sqaud (the group that was doing most of the booing and whatnot).

Major props to LARS for pulling this off. Last Thursday, we (ESC) threw fake money at Becks in addition to songs, chants, and boos. We got some smirks and a few crotch grabs in our general direction. He brushed it off after the game which I fully expected. But obviously hearing it from his home fans touched a nerve.

And I just found out that the guy who was detained won our prestigious Drunk of the Week award at MLS Cup last year. Awesome.

posted by goddam at 05:37 PM on July 20, 2009

Donovan whateverhisnameis - you know: the team's leading scorer who couldn't sell a ticket to his own mother

The L.A. Galaxy had the best attendance in MLS in the two years prior to Beckham's arrival, when Donovan was the biggest attraction.

posted by rcade at 06:33 PM on July 20, 2009

Well, I guess it could have been worse. Beckham could have gone a step further, which is what happened with a distinguished football son from the land of autogoal homicides, Colombia.

Story here

posted by beaverboard at 06:48 PM on July 20, 2009

This was the subject of the L.A. Times Helene Elliott's column as well.

I have to say, after the return Manny got, I was shocked and pleased at the response to Beckham. It's what he deserves.

posted by cjets at 08:32 PM on July 20, 2009

I think more athletes should call out these idiot hecklers to be quite honest.

One reason I always cheered Eric Cantona after he nailed that fan in the crowd.

As for Becks calling out a drunk fan... What's the big deal?

posted by Drood at 09:10 PM on July 20, 2009

Urging a fan to come out of the stands is an incredibly stupid thing for an athlete to do. He was encouraging a riot.

posted by rcade at 09:14 PM on July 20, 2009

I think the fans' reaction is not limited to L.A. Beckham played about 70 minutes in front of less than 23,000 against the Red Bulls. They still play inside Giants Stadium, which seats more than 70,000 -- you could hear the crickets chirping!

posted by jjzucal at 10:12 PM on July 20, 2009

Yahoo Sports has a story disputing Beckham's claim that he was attempting to play peacemaker.

posted by rcade at 11:11 PM on July 20, 2009

The only reason for the crickets jibe is because they shouldn't be playing in that stadium. If you put those 23,000 fans in a soccer-specific stadium, jjzucal, it would be more than the top average attendance in the NHL.

posted by rcade at 11:16 PM on July 20, 2009

you could hear the crickets chirping

Actually, no, you couldn't hear crickets chirping. You heard the home fans (the few of us that remain) for once at a "Beckham game", instead of thousands of screaming girls and fanboys.

posted by goddam at 12:34 AM on July 21, 2009

In a way, I think that it's the kind of thing that the league needs, in order to shake off its overseas image of being "where clapped-out stars go out to pasture". Now, you might say that Beckham's desire to remain on the international radar backs up that impression, but it's clear that the fans are no longer comfortable with it.

The chicken run, for better or worse, ought to be a vital part of every club's support, to use the word in its loosest capacity.

posted by etagloh at 01:19 AM on July 21, 2009

NYT article with quotes from the participants.

posted by goddam at 01:53 AM on July 21, 2009

Not that I am surprised, but isn't it laughable that the football bashers never waste a chance to air their contempt for the sport. This phenomenon is unique to the US. It is a sport, you either follow it, or you don't if that's not your cup of tea. Why bother with polluting these forums with mindless drivel, instead of just ignoring it? Must be a serious case if inferiority complex or paranoia, how else can this be explained? The established media and the ossified pundits of the Frank Deford/Jim Rome school are in a culture war which they are losing. As for the MLS' ranking on the global stage, people who constantly deride it, what do you expect, Barclay's Premier League in an instant? It takes time, and they seem to be doing a good job in developing the league, although I question some of their moves and strategy.

posted by trueblueroo at 08:31 AM on July 21, 2009

If you put those 23,000 fans in a soccer-specific stadium, it would be more than the top average attendance in the NHL.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say there, rcade, but I do know that MLS teams only have 15 home games a season, whereas NHL teams have 41 home dates.

posted by tommybiden at 09:06 AM on July 21, 2009

What I'm saying is that MLS attendance is respectable, when the teams aren't playing in gargantuan stadiums that make the crowds look small. The push to get these teams into soccer-specific stadiums was the smartest decision they've made.

posted by rcade at 09:44 AM on July 21, 2009

tommytrump at 09:06 AM on July 21 So what's your point? My message applies to you too.

posted by trueblueroo at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2009

My point (to rcade) was that while MLS soccer teams may draw more than NHL teams, it's for less than half as many home dates per season. I just didn't understand his reference. That being said, I'm in agreement with rcade that MLS's smartest move was to get as many teams into soccer specific stadiums as possible. Doesn't Red Bull have a stadium in the works ?

As far as your message , I'm not a soccer basher, I don't see how or where you could draw that inference by what I posted.

posted by tommybiden at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2009

Follow up from the L.A. Times this morning.

posted by cjets at 11:59 AM on July 21, 2009

That Times story quotes a "theology professor, minister and Riot Squad member" who witnessed Beckham's behavior and was one of the jeering crowd.

If I've said it once I've said it once, but when you've lost the theology professors, you've lost the fans.

You'd think Beckham knew by now how to deal with crazed supporters from his time in England. Maybe he didn't think MLS fans could rise to Premiership levels of hostility.

posted by rcade at 12:55 PM on July 21, 2009

"Maybe he didn't think MLS fans could rise to Premiership levels of hostility."

They haven't. Clearly he's forgotten how to deal with it.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:08 PM on July 21, 2009

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