Tuesday, July 21, 2009

David Beckham Really Is the Problem

I hate to have to refute someone's bullshit so early in the morning, but here goes:

Let me give it to you in a nutshell: Soccer will never be huge here in the U.S. of A. It’s a nifty little game pastime. There are just too many other sports that are ingrained in the national psyche, notably our brand of football, baseball, hoops, etc. It isn’t a part of our lifestyle, therefore it will only ever be a niche.

Seething Soccer Sucker – like the one who hurled invective at Beckham on Sunday night in Carson, Ca., and wanted to rip out his tattoos with his teeth, as well as the other deluded souls who bothered to bring anti-Beckham banners – don’t get it.

The problem is not Beckham, it’s you. It’s your expectations.

You wanted to abuse Beckham because he isn’t delivering on a promise to come here and turn America into a soccer-mad nation. But he can’t do that because he doesn’t have supernatural powers. It isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s David Beckham or the love child of Pele and Diego Maradona.

What Beckham is providing now – with his half-hearted commitment last season to the L.A. Galaxy – is an excuse for Seething Soccer Sucker and his brethren to unleash his anger and frustration over the economy, health care, traffic, the cost of a Starbucks latte, the split between Jon and Kate or whatever other demons are swirling inside that dark cavernous shell atop his shoulders.

Here we have what is euphemistically being called a "sportswriter" on MSNBC.com--which, as you may well know, is home to America's Worst Sportswriter, Mike Celizic--and he doesn't even know the first thing about sports, which is that, sometimes, rooting against  a player is more exciting than rooting for  a player.

Through his supposed villainy, Beckham may just entice more people to watch soccer. This might all be a calculated Public Relations move to drum up interest in a sport which, seasonally, has to take a back seat to baseball. I can think of several sports "villains" in the past, but the one that comes to mind is the preening, posing, posturing Joe Namath.

What Namath brought to the NFL, at a time when it very badly needed it, was star power. He was larger than life, and spoke his mind. This caused millions to root for him to have his leg snapped back in the pocket like we saw Lawrence Taylor do to Joe Theismann, except that LT wasn't around when Namath needed to have his career ended. In the hoary world of phony nostalgia, it is hard to remember just how many sportswriters thought Namath was a cancer who ruined the innocence of sports, a washed-up has-been, a phony, a fraud, and worthy of being on Richard Nixon's enemies list.

No, the problem I see here isn't with the fans--and as Michael Ventre ridiculously notes, the "fans" who showed up with signs hating on Beckham seem to understand the sport, want to pay to see it, and want to root against Beckham--it's with Beckham, himself. As a sports villain, he needs to punch someone in the gut for looking at his wifes magical upwards-pointing boobs. He needs to tell a bunch of orphans that he will stop by and sign their pictures of him and instead send Danny Bonaduce with a blow up doll and free pork rinds for all. He needs to sneer at the camera more, take his shirt off, and wipe his armpits on a bald man who can't run away fast enough.

I'm against public defecation--no one needs to see that--but in Beckham's case, crapping on the center line after a goal and throwing it around like a zoo monkey on meth might turn this whole thing around.

That being said, it's time for Beckham to cowboy up and play the part of a villain with some feeling, with some guts, with some vigor. No more moping around in underwear--walk into the stands and drop a roundhouse on some hooligans and bare your teeth at the crowd, sir. 

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