In two weeks time the ageing David Beckham has to return to the United States and play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS (against the New York Red Bulls at Giant Stadium outside New York City). In January this year, Beckham left the MLS mid-season to go play for AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A. Blasphemous to the MLS. Not surprisingly, Beckham has not been very enthusiastic about returning to the US. In 2007 Beckham had arrived, with much fanfare, at the Galaxy. His salary about 10 times that of the average MLS player. Sports Illustrated’s football writer, Grant Wahl, has been following Beckham for the last two years and his book on Beckham’s time at the Galaxy is coming out this month in the US (on July 14). As part of the hype, SL today published a lengthy excerpt from the book on its website. (It’s also in the latest issue of the magazine.) Among other things, Wahl writes about the cold war between Beckham and the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan (over who was the bigger star, as there is any comparison here), describes Beckham’s time at the Galaxy as “an epic disaster” and a “soccer fiasco,” that Beckham was a “cheapskate” (he did not pick up the tab after a night out with his much poorer teammates), reveals the process behind who appointed disastrous coach Ruud Gullit, and Beckham’s deficient captaincy skills. This should be fun.
Is there an implicit racial bias in Major League Soccer and other U.S. leagues?
A piercing SB Nation story this week grappled with the implications of a recent study‘s disturbing findings “that black players are 14 percent more likely to be called for cautions than their non-black counterparts.” The study by Paste magazine also found that “black players are [. . .] more than twice as likely to receive red card ejections.”
In the article, I share my thoughts on this important issue with the SB Nation reporter, Tyler Tynes. I point out that “while finding empirical data is difficult, there’s plenty of soft and hard discrimination to believe that bias can take hold in refereeing. American soccer is not excused.” In fact, officiating bias can be understood as part of a broader pattern of racism in soccer, in the U.S. and internationally, one characterized by the practice of “stacking,” the presence of very few black coaches on the sidelines, and multiple forms of racist fan behavior.
“It can’t be denied,” I say in the piece. “Racism in soccer, in Europe certainly, is very real. And, regrettably, despite all the progress that’s been made in terms of messaging and tolerance in local football culture, it’s still there. And everybody knows it.”
But don’t take my word for it, click here to read the full story.