Anything that David Beckham does, both on and off the field, is subject to more scrutiny than any other soccer player on the planet; so when he draws a yellow card that leads to him missing a game in Vancouver there can be little surprise that people begin to wonder if his actions carried an ulterior motive.
The incident happened deep into stoppage time with the LA Galaxy leading 1-0 against the Columbus Crew. Beckham was preparing to take a free-kick from the right wing but then began to theatrically complain about the defender not being the correct distance from the kick, the referee tells him to carry on but Beckham is so incensed by this injustice that he continues to walk away from the ball and is eventually given his eighth yellow card of the season meaning an automatic one game ban.
He then taps the ball to a colleague who proceeds to run into the corner to waste the few remaining seconds of the game, making Beckham’s earlier protestations seem even stranger.
So why would Beckham want to miss out on a trip to “the best place on earth”? Here are three possible reasons;
He has often spoken out about how he dislikes playing on turf surfaces.
He uses up his suspension against the worst team in the league rather than a tougher opponent.
He gets to spend more time at home with his new baby daughter.
Beckham also has form in this regard. Back in 2004 he boasted about how clever he had been in deliberately earning a suspension when playing for England. The subsequent outcry probably taught him not to go public on such intent in the future and this time around he has spoken about his willingness to appeal this decision (he must be unaware that there is no appeal procedure against yellow cards) and, in fairness, it may not even have been Beckham’s decision; LA manager Bruce Arena may well have instructed him to pick up the caution in the same way that Jose Mourinho did to two of his players in a Champions League game last season.
There are those who would argue that Beckham has a special responsibility to play as many games as he can given his phenomenal profile in MLS but ultimately he knows that, in pure footballing terms, his sole responsibility is to the LA Galaxy.
This kind of abuse of the disciplinary procedure is not unique to Beckham and is exceptionally difficult to both prove and prevent. Ultimately it’s bad luck for the Whitecaps marketing department, and it’s bad luck for any fans who have already bought tickets in the hopes of seeing the most famous footballer on the planet.
Good luck though for a Whitecaps team that desperately needs a win, and what better time to do it than in front of a few thousand extra supporters.
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Tags: World soccer