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Time for Beckham to Show Respect
by Paul Gardner, March 23rd, 2008 11:12PM

TAGS:  mls


What a bore! What a tedious, brainless megabore Beckham and his 100th cap have become.

Who cares any more if Beckham gets 100 or 1,000 caps?

We're talking about a mere number. One that was unattainable years ago, because national teams didn't play that many games. Is Stanley Matthews, probably the greatest of English players, in any way diminished because he got only 54 caps?

It took him 22 years to assemble that many. Today, Cobi Jones has managed to rack up 164 caps in 13 years! And the future? Maybe the number of international games will get even higher, so that a mere century of caps will mean nothing, and those managing maybe 200 appearances will leave Beckham and his fellow centi-cappers way behind. Maybe.

I repeat: Who cares? Per favore, Signor Capello, do us a favor, just give Beckham his cap. After that -- presuming the Beckham camp doesn't demand a ticker tape parade and a visit to the White House -- maybe David can start playing soccer where he should be playing it: In the USA. In MLS. With the L.A. Galaxy.

So far he's done precious little of that. Beckham has quite deliberately put the pursuit of his flashy holy grail before the interests of his club. And in so doing, he has delivered a crude slap in the face to American soccer in general.

As soon as the Galaxy's 2007 season was over (its brevity encouraged by Beckham's truancy) Beckham turned up in England, hobnobbing with top politicians; after that came a photo-op in Sierra Leone; then it was time to promote his new academy in Brazil (no, I'm not kidding - Beckham is going to teach the Brazilians how to play soccer).

Next, finally, came the Galaxy -- a Far East tour where the expected fanfest never happened, and the Galaxy presented those who did attend its games with indifferent soccer.

Back in the USA, there's been time for Beckham to turn up in New York at a glitzy $1,250 a plate gala -- a charity affair, you understand.

It would be easy enough to blame the media for all the hype, and, sure, there's blame there. Blame can also be heaped upon the Galaxy and its supine indulgence to every Beckham wish. But the driving force behind all this Beckocentric behavior is Beckham himself.

Is there any chance of someone telling Beckham to show some respect for sport in the USA? I cannot see who it would be. The Galaxy has capitulated before his undoubted charm (among other attributes). MLS, we hear, may be courting him as a potential owner.

So we await some sort of awareness to dawn on Beckham himself, so that he might stop worrying about what the English fans and the English media think of him, and put his heart and soul into doing what he said he'd do, and what he's being paid obscenely to do: Help the game of soccer in the USA.

  1. Oscar Alonso
    commented on: March 24, 2008 at 9:59 a.m.
    I like David Beckham, I really do. But he's got to get over this England call up thing. He's being paid by the Galaxy, his primary (if not only) focus should be delivering the goods to his club. I lay a lot of the blame on Alexi Lalas himself. If I were paying that type of loot (his real salary) I'd be a lot less accomodating when the Brits call. Alexi has gone public with his opinion of the BPL and the overhyped quality of a super league, yet he goes submissive when the subject of Beckham and the English national team comes up. Beck's, get your 100 and say thanks. Otherwise one day you'll look back on your American experiment and realize you went wrong when you treated the league and your club as an afterthought. You want to grow 'soccer' in the states? Show the world you can turn down a meaningless call up so you can perform for the club that made you relevant again. Because the message your actions are sending is that this is really a rec league and you're on paid vacation.
  1. Gunther Charles
    commented on: March 24, 2008 at 11:16 a.m.
    For sure, we don't want to take anything away from "Davy-Boy" but what has been said so far I do agree with. First the coming to America to teach us soccer, (ha ha) then the wanting of the TV shows by Wifee, the Caps (so?) now the possible ownership, When the heck will he play soccer, ever? I have said from the beginning - it's all for the publicity, and that he's getting. The money, or some of it could have been given to youth clubs who really wanting to play soccer. Besides, I bet that we have teachers and coaches available here in this country who know soccer and can darn sure teach it.
  1. Tom Wilhelm
    commented on: March 24, 2008 at 11:29 a.m.
    What else did people expect? Beckham is a worldwide brand. Just because he conned the Gals and Alexi out of MLS's nest egg and possibly a franchise doesn't mean he's actually going to be focused on soccer. The best US fans of the sport can hope for is that he brings in enough temporary money to offset his costs. Because he is not going to provide permanent converts, especially if the Gals can't afford a proper defense. As soon as he picks up another nagging season long injury (I'd give it until May), maybe then someone at the league or team office will finally realize the boondoggle and refocus on reversing the downward trend in median quality caused by the exodus of Americans who can play but aren't a household name to Scandinavia, Austria and other minor Euro leagues where the money is better even though the quality is worse.
  1. Gil Ramirez
    commented on: March 24, 2008 at 11:57 a.m.
    Mmm.... All is said and said very well. Becks, we like you, as a person and a player. But please get your 100th done with and concentrate on your team. Those Galaxy fans who buy tickets and spend $$$ to get your shirts deserve a much better team than what they got so far since you arrived to L.A. About Alexi Lalas, I think he realizes it is important to support the calling of a players to their National teams. We would like the same treatment for our own guys abroad when they are recalled for national dutty. So at least here we should cut Alexi some slack. Other than that keep roasting him until he produces a winning product with L.A.
  1. Bob Appleby
    commented on: March 24, 2008 at 4:51 p.m.
    Hey Becks Country always comes FIRST. Go play and forget these people who don't know jacks%^t
  1. Bob Appleby
    commented on: March 24, 2008 at 4:56 p.m.
    Practicing at Arsenal in the off season while others were home doesn't count for anything? Just because he's always in the news allows some of you to pick on a player who wants to play for his country. He played many 90's in the preseason. I don't see you picking on Donovan though
  1. Henry Sroka
    commented on: March 25, 2008 at 9:44 p.m.
    Regardless,He has brought a major spot light on the MLS.People now have respect and interest in Europe and around the globe.Hopefully he plays well and scores a goal. Not like other super imports.. Barros Schelotto,Denilson, naming a couple that came last season and have left.

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