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Landon Donovan’s Tough Week

June 19th, 2018 · No Comments · Football, Landon Donovan, soccer, World Cup

And it’s only Tuesday!

It has been a rocky few days for Landon Donovan, maybe the greatest player in American soccer history and, at the moment, maybe the most controversial.

On Saturday, came the  Twitter ad in which Landon is holding a green scarf with lettering that reads: “My other team is Mexico” … and a message that includes: “USA fans, our team may not be in Russia but our neighbors to the south are. So join me and their proud #sponsor @WellsFargo … to cheer on our other team. … Vamos Mexico!”

That cozying up to El Tri did not go over well with some fans and former U.S. players. Taylor Twellman, once a USMNT teammate of Landon’s, said he would rather “cut off my toe than root for [Mexico]”. Another former teammate, Carlos Bocanegra, had a simple response. “Really?”

Then came an uncomfortable escalation.

Landon tweeted at Bocanegra, suggesting that since the latter’s father is of Mexican descent he should be more sympathetic to Landon’s Wells Fargo message, concluding with: “Look around our country, are you happy with the way we are treating Mexicans? Open your mind, stand for something & remember where you came from.”

To which Boca replied, again: “Really?”

Which was followed by various media and bloggers jumping on Landon for telling a Mexican-American former teammate how he should feel about supporting Mexico. (Reportedly, Landon took down the tweet soon after, and he gave a deeper explanation of his support for Mexico at Russia 2018.)

That part took up some of Sunday.

On Monday came word that Liga MX Club Leon, Landon’s employer in his second comeback from retirement, had “parted ways” with Donovan after an abortive stint that totaled 95 minutes of playing time over five matches and four months.

The Mexican club made clear that “Landon Donovan and Club Leon have agreed to part ways and to not validate the signed contract for next season”.

So what looked like a full year of getting paid (allegedly at $180,000 per month) has been cut short and Donovan is done as a professional player. One last time. We think.

What must have hurt most through the unpleasant four days were the comments suggesting Donovan’s enthusiasm for Mexico’s soccer team had mostly to do with his getting paid by Wells Fargo bank.

For instance, Jalen Rose, former NBA star and now a ESPN talking head, said: “He’s not just a performer, he’s the torchbearer [for U.S. soccer]. He can’t be selling out for a check.”

USA Today quoted a Mexico fan from Long Beach saying: “It feels like he is jumping on the bandwagon because Mexico is doing well and the U.S. isn’t, and he’s getting paid for it, so that is kind of pathetic.”

Landon may prefer to stay out of the news for a bit. He can always watch the World Cup on a big-screen TV somewhere.


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