Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hating On Landon

Landon Donovan and Mexico go hand-in-hand like meat and rabid dogs. It seems that every time Donovan plays against Mexico, be it the national team or a Mexican club, Donovan seems to bring out some emotions from Mexican supporters.

He certainly has drawn some emotions out from the locals here in Morelia.

As the Galaxy began to go through their warm-ups in a mostly-empty and relatively quiet Estadio Morelos on Monday, a shout came down from above.
"Donovan! Fuck you motherfucker! Your ass is mine motherfucker!"

A small group of locals had gotten to a gate where at least part of the field was visible to them. Their villain, Public Enemy No. 1 'round these parts, was down below so why not serenade him?

I wrote a story on some of the issues that perturbs the fans. Donovan has long been a thorn in Mexico's side, having scored five goals against the national team, including the dagger in the 2002 World Cup win over El Tricolor.

Now, on Monday almost without looking for it, we found some pure Donovan hatred. A group of us went to a marketplace to look for soccer jerseys. We wound up talking to one of the vendors for about an hour on various things and the topic of our visit came up. As soon as he found out we were there for the Galaxy-Morelia match, he let loose about Donovan.

"Ask anybody here. Nobody likes him. I heard two guys walking past earlier and they were saying how they were going to go to the game just to talk shit to Donovan."
The vendor, Rafael, was adamant that Donovan did not like Mexicans. He asked several of the people around him "What was it that Donovan said about Mexico?" as if there was something that Donovan had actually said that would have inflamed Mexicans.

If you're talking about goals, that's a good enough reason to dislike Donovan I suppose. And pissing on the field in Estadio Jalisco is something so ridiculous that it's laughable. There's not a field in this planet that hasn't been pissed on.

But perhaps that's where this notion that Donovan does not like Mexicans stems from. At some point, perception certainly became reality and old habits die hard.

Maybe in the United States, Mexican supporters arent' quite as vicious in their attacks over Donovan as they are here. Perhaps since they have the chance to see him play more and, more importantly, they hear him do interviews in Spanish, they have seen for themselves that whatever supposedly racist ideas he carried were never really there.

But don't tell that to the Morelia faithful. If not all, many certainly seem to think he really does not like Mexicans. And you can rest assured that they will let him hear how much they dislike him the moment he takes the field for warm-ups in Estadio Morelos.


Paul Poenicke said...

Intriguing experiences of Landi-hate. I can understand hating your one of your rival's better players. I was under the mistaken impression that Landon was less hated than other US players, possibly grudgingly respected for his dynamic, attacking play.

The point about racism just seems silly. As you point out, here's a guy who does interviews in Spanish; he's a good sport and doesn't do any craziness on the field, post goal or win. I would've thought the commercials he has shot would reach audience on both sides of the border. Tim Howard makes a more convincing target as a racist US player (although one frustrated comment does not a racist make--a comment that, if Tim wants to keep shooting commericals for All State, should be summarily rejected).

Anonymous said...

Landon did say "they suck" about Mexico in 2005, and I'm sure that quote was taken out of context frequently in the Mexican media for the purpose making him look bad and firing up readers/listeners.