We Should Applaud David Beckham's "Confrontational and Provocative Behavior"

By Eric Imhof

David Beckham has been suspended for one game and given an undisclosed fine for what MLS officials described as “confrontational and provocative behaviour” (spelled with a “u” because I read about it on The BBC) in a match against San Jose last Saturday. Becks kicked the ball at San Jose’s Sam Cronin as he lay on the pitch, in frustration over what Beckham perceived to be purposeful time-wasting. Watch the video here.

I must say, a two things jump out at me after watching the footage.

1. The kick is from several yards out, and Becks still manages to curl it right in there to lovingly tap the “injured” Cronin, who jumps up in protest immediately (must’ve been really hurting there, huh?). The accuracy of the kick almost overshadows its intended message. Bravo.

2. As is clear in the video, Cronin was in fact just wasting time. Shouldn’t he get the suspension and the fine instead? He is the one, after all, who is soiling the game (or any game) by simply refusing to play it. Seems to me like Beck’s action is precisely the kind of thing the MLS should promote, as it only benefits its image to endorse a no-injury-faking policy across the league.

Maybe Becks will set a new trend, whereby players who are rolling around like they just got hit trying to take Iwo Jima will get the ball punted at them by the nearest opponent. Maybe it’ll be just embarrassing enough for them to reconsider their Oscar-worthy performances, or else if they’re really injured it will become apparent by their non-response or increasingly agonized response to the impact.

So I say “well done” to Becks for calling out this all-too prevalent practice, which is one of the few practices I would call “un-American” as a sincere insult.

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