Donovan's Beckham Comments Justified?
Maybe we all could have seen this coming.
2007 brought the arrival of David Beckham to the Los Angeles Galaxy. He was to be not only the savior and star of the team, but the entire MLS. Jersey sales had already reached 250,000 before he even announced his number and he attracted the largest crowds in league history.
The former England skipper was even handed the captaincy less than two months after his debut.
It appeared he was doing all of the right things. Landon Donovan however, may not have been so impressed.
In Grant Wahl's The Beckham Experiment, to be be released later this month, teammate Landon Donovan goes on a rant of sorts about the globally known sports icon.
After relaying positive initial thoughts on Beckham, it appears that his respect for him has not withstood the test of time. Says Donovan, "All that we care about at a minimum is that he committed himself to us...As time has gone on, that has not proven to be the case in many ways—on the field, off the field."
The United States international didn't stop there. Despite what seemed to be a positive and professional relationship between the two, he also said, "Let's say he does stay here for three more years...I'm not going to spend the next three years of my life doing it this way. This is f****** miserable. I don't want to have soccer be this way."
He had even more to say. His other other comments can be seen here.
There's a number of reason's that he could have had to warrant such as outburst. Maybe Donovan was merely frustrated with the dismal team he's been forced to lead, without the help of a very good player who is under contract to the LA club. It could the fact that he likely lost his captaincy just because of celebrity status.
Or maybe he didn't think the comments would come to light until after the season's end, when Beckham will surely be on his way out to find a better club and competition in hopes of making the England squad for the 2010 World Cup.
It is for this reason that Donovan could be justified in his ridicule of Becks.
Let's ignore the fact that Landon himself has been looking for a way out of MLS and into Europe ever since his departure from Bayer Leverkusen. Beckham has openly spoken of his desire to be called up to his national team, admitting that the Galaxy and Major League Soccer give him little chance to accomplish it.
In order to do so, he became the prime figure in extending his loan deal at AC Milan to the end other the Serie A season.
Donovan probably had no problem with Becks leaving to improve himself abroad, until it was evident he'd do it well into the Galaxy season and only return just in time for the halfway point.
From his (Landon) point of view players themselves should not be the ones who really push for loan extensions. To him, Beckham was shunning the team who he had decided to play for and was the captain of.
And yet, the Galaxy organization will welcome Beckham back with open arms, as if it never happened. Even upon visiting the LA Galaxy website, you are immediately greeted with a "Beckham's Back" banner. It's understandable that Donovan could be frustrated by the treatment of a player who, according to him, does not care. And it wouldn't be crazy to say that those within the club could be enablers to their global cash cow.
However, in the grand scheme of things Mr. Donovan, David Beckham is your teammate. To publicly go on blast about someone who is such an important part of the team, someone you share the lockeroom and the limelight with, is hard to side with.
While it probably wasn't what he intended, this won't be an issue between just the two of them. This is going to be the talk of everyone around the league and, more importantly, within the Galaxy organization. People may be forced to side with one star or the other. It has the potential to create a whole other windstorm of distraction for a team that already isn't good.
It could of course have a positive effect. Maybe Becks will step up in all of the facets in which he was criticized and everyone will be happy. On the flip side, Beckham could take his foot off the pedal, still have everyone by his side, make things even worse for Donovan.
It's likely that won't happen though. Beckham has dealt with public criticism from those within in his own club before and he's bigger than this. And so is Donovan, who probably just slipped up in frustration but nevertheless slipped up.
How do you feel about what he's said? Do feel it was harsh or right on? Should it have been said at all? Do you think it'll affect anything on the field? Please feel free to answer in your comments.
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