24 April 2006

The Spit Take

Two days out, and the Eskandarian spit take is still the topic of conversation around MLS. The video of Eskandarian spitting the Red Bull is now up (HT - OffWing) and more people are having their say on the topic (Here's the LA Times' Grahame Jones on the issue, and a supposedly humorous mention in the Washington Post). So how should you feel about this? For me, the answer is pretty much any emotion can be correct for this matter, even if they are contradictory.

Was it funny? Damn right it was. Was it childish and immature? Yup. Did it lack sportsmanship? I may take some heat for this, but yeah, it did. It was a clear thumb in the eye to the other team, holding them up for ridicule. It wasn't sporting. It's not the most unsportsmanlike thing of all time, but it wasn't a class move. But here's the thing... it wasn't so egregiously unsporting as to make me upset with him. The Red Bulls/Metros have been poking at DC United with a stick to see how we would respond for a year. There was Lalas with the "Trade Freddy to us, we know how to use him" comment. The "Superclub" comments. There's the attempted invasion of RFK (good for fans, sure, but still we look on it as an attempt to buy your way into respectability.) There were the blanket pronouncements of How Great the New York Red Bulls Would Be This Year from the management, staff, and supporters of RBNY. All of those things rankled, and then we only managed a draw at home against New York. The fact is, RBNY deserved this a bit. So no, this wasn't the finest example of sportsmanship on the planet, but RBNY deserved it.

Now, as for Eric Wynalda, I have no problem if he didn't like it. Go ahead and express your displeasure. As for Dave O'Brien, I'm glad you felt free enough to contradict Wynalda on the matter. But what I hate, Eric, is that you tried to hide behind Alecko's father in your criticism. It was almost that you were afraid to appear unhip and square, so you invoked the "Well, I don't think Daddy Eskandarian is going to like it" straw man. C'mon Eric, you can do better than that. People love and hate you because you've always shot straight with them. Now is not the time to wuss out on the issue. If you didn't like it, that's fine, but don't be a wimp by hiding behind Daddy.

Now, should Alecko be fined? Probably, but not severely. But for me, it was worth every penny of Alecko's money. And if I can arrange a limited sponsorship deal with his agent that just happens to be for the precise amount of the fine, well, that works for me. Sierra Mist, wanna be refreshing?


At 24 April, 2006 14:20, Blogger J Fitty said...

I already commented in a previous post, but there is no way Alecko should be fined if they (MLS) are going to put him up for goal of the week (in my opinion because of the celebration, because the goal was not that good). If MLS had not put up that goal for the weekly honor, fine away. But you can't applaud the celebration, and then fine him.

At 24 April, 2006 15:30, Anonymous Matt said...

D....I totally agree with your take.

Thanks for the extra bit of info on how New York has been screwing with DC...I didn't know all that stuff.

As to sponsorship deals...safe to say that Esky won't be endorsing Red Bull...or in fact I'd be surprised if he ever plays for Red Bull NY...

At 24 April, 2006 15:45, Anonymous The Belly said...

Following up on j fitty's comment, I suggest you look at the picture MLS chose to put next to Eski's goal of the week entry.


Maybe it is bad sportsmanship (and if it is so was Clint Dempsey's "home run"), but I think MLS secretly likes this sort of thing and the controversy it provokes.

At 24 April, 2006 16:47, Anonymous MEL said...

Couple thoughts ...

The annoying thing about Waldo bringing up Alecko's father was that he was implicitly buying into the Red Bulls theft of the Cosmos history. HELLO. There's no relationship there.

As for the celebration itself, making fun of the team should be fair game I think. Rivals aren't supposed to like each other. However, I can see where MLS might not like making fun of a corporate owner that just gave the league a huge cash infusion. Just happens that in this case the team and the owner are hard to separate.

At 24 April, 2006 17:37, Blogger Andrew said...

I actually thought this was more a shot at the corporate sponsorship of the team's name than the team itself, and thus not in bad taste. Although Red Bull does taste pretty bad.


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