Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has been suspended by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for his actions in the Galaxy's June 30 match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Beckham's suspension will be for one match (L.A.'s July 8 match against the Chicago Fire) in addition to a fine of an undisclosed sum of money.
The Disciplinary Committee said Beckham's actions constituted "confrontational and provocative behavior during and immediately following the Galaxy's 4-3 loss at San Jose on June 30. The Committee considered his conduct unacceptable and detrimental to the League's public image." Beckham already served a one-game suspension for accumulated yellow cards stemming from the yellow he picked up when he struck Sam Cronin with the ball at the end of the match. Cronin had fell down inside the San Jose penalty area after a collision and stayed down. Another Earthquakes player, Rafael Baca, punted a ball away while Cronin lay on the ground. Beckham, tired of the Earthquakes' time wasting, kicked a ball which hit Cronin. A scuffle ensued after Cronin popped up when the ball hit him. After the match Beckham and San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham had heated words at midfield while being held back by teammates. The Earthquakes' mascot even got pushed out of the way.
What made the incidents worse was that the match was nationally televised on ESPN2 and the network had put forth effort in advertising the California Clasico. After the match, Galaxy manager Bruce Arena ripped referee Hilario Grajeda saying, "The reason there was that disturbance at the end of the game, I think, is because he didn't take control of things. Two competitive teams and things boiled over. I thought the management of the game by the referee was atrocious." Arena also said Grajeda missed handball calls in the penalty area. These comments got Arena a fine from MLS as well.
I rarely find MLS referees doing a good job in matches. As a Galaxy fan, I understand Arena's frustrations at missed calls. However, he shouldn't complain about referees publicly. Beckham is lucky to have not faced a real suspension because of his actions.
More from Patrick Johnston:
Scott French, "David Beckham suspended 1 Game", ESPN LA