A part of

Issue # 20 Thursday, March 19, 1998

About the Author:

In 1997 Charles Loyd McIntosh was a news writer for the Talledega Daily Home (www.dailyhome.com). He was a former reporter for The Western Star in Bessemer (a small city west of Birmingham), Alabama, and a former Sports Editor for the Clanton Advertiser. At the time he was writing for the Sideroad, Loyd was pursuing a Masters in English degree at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. An avid sports fan, soccer is Loyd's sport of choice, one he has been known to coach in the recent past.

". . .beer and other debris rained down on them as they tried to run through the tunnel. . ."

"The entire incident should be a matter of national disgrace. . ."


America. . .Love it or Leave it?

You know, kindly Sideroad travellers, it isn't often that I tell you that I am embarrassed to be a citizen of the good 'ol U S of A, but something happened last month involving the US soccer team makes me want to bury my head in the sand.

Check this one out.

During a game between the US and Mexico February 15, the US soccer team was not only booed and jeered throughout the entire game by Mexican fans, but were continually pelted with water, beer and in some cases solid objects like fruit from the over 60,000 fans in attendance.

One player was hit during with a water balloon during a corner kick attempt. As the team left the field at the end of both halves, beer and other debris rained down on them as they tried to run through the tunnel to their locker room. Mexico's fans in the end got the best of Uncle Sam as the Mexican national team defeated the US, 1-0.

This type of behavior is nothing new in Mexico, England, most of Europe, or any other Latin American countries. Home nations make it a matter of habit to act like idiots to visiting teams, and this incident was no different; except that it happened in Los Angeles, California!

Now, the rivalry between these two national teams has become pretty heated as the US has become a somewhat meager soccer power of sorts, but what happened in this case is completely inexcusable because it happened on America's own soil.

The Mexican fans outnumbered American fans about 100 to 1 in Los Angeles. They made it impossible for American fans to support their team. Boos and whistles drowned out the National Anthem and beer and water rained down on the players as they stood to salute the flag.

Not only were American players harrassed the entire game, but American fans as well. One group of fans attempted to unroll an American flag but were hit with oranges and cans of beers until they had to roll the flag back up for fear of their lives.

The entire incident should be a matter of national disgrace, but has hardly gotten one minute of attention in the media. What's happening here? Why? The one question I would like answered is, if these people hate the US so much, why did they risk their lives to get here? And why was coverage of this avoided? Fear of racism? Is it racist to point out that this is unacceptable behaviour?

I am not suggesting that anyone blindly accept all American ideals and opinions like Nazis. But when the apparent contempt of the Mexican fans for their chosen nation threatens the health and well-being of others, it is clear a problem exists. Freedom of speech hardly covers pelting people with beer and oranges, or stopping others from expressing their views. . .does it?

I know I might be making some people pretty mad, but I really don't care. While the American wrestling team was visiting Iran they were welcomed with standing ovations. Meanwhile, the Mexican fans in this country felt it necessary to throw beer at our soccer players on our own soil.

This isn't a "freedom of expression" issue, but a matter of respect for an adopted home. God bless America.

Offended? Read Loyd's subsequent Note on Article 20.

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