Piers Morgan, host of a CNN prime time talk show and occasional "analyst" for FOX Soccer, decided to take a jab at Major League Soccer via his personal Twitter account on Thursday morning. As one might expect, MLS fans from all over were displeased with Morgan's comment about the league. Such individuals let Morgan know of their opinions, and the Tweets sent his way from MLS supporters provided great entertainment for this New York Red Bulls fan.
Morgan's comment followed the announcement that LA Galaxy star David Beckham was not added to the England National Team for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which will take place in London. Beckham, who no longer features in the first choice England team, was widely expected to be one of the "veteran players" added to the Olympic squad. According to reports, Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards were instead selected.
Morgan first took a few shots at Beckham via Twitter, posting the following: "Oh no! Stuart Pearce chose the best GB Olympic football team on merit, not celebrity status. How shameful! #Beckham"
"Relax everyone - #Beckham can still go the Olympics. He just has to buy a ticket like the rest of us."
He then had a go at MLS, posting a comment straight out of 2006. "Unlike most of you, I've watched LA Galaxy live in MLS. It's glorified pub football. Even I'd get a game. #Beckham #Olympics"
Top flight football leagues found in England, Spain and Italy are all better products than MLS. I'm fine admitting that. Referring to MLS as "glorified pub football," however, kinda/sorta proves what many American fans have said: That Morgan knows little about the game outside of his beloved Arsenal (you can debate how much knowledge he actually has on that subject on your own time), and that he doesn't belong discussing the game on US TV when stations such as FOX Soccer and ESPN could instead bring in real analysts.
MLS is, if nothing else, an extremely physical league. Thierry Henry, the living legend who proved he could still hang in the EPL this past winter, needed a decent amount of time to adjust to our little pub football league; as did the previously mentioned Beckham. Some would argue that Rafa Marquez, who, unlike Beckham, actually features in his national team's starting 11, still isn't a "true" MLS player.
Bashing MLS is fashionable. That's nothing new. It's 2012 now, though, and those of us who follow MLS, the EPL, Serie A, La Liga and even the A-League understand that the best Major League Soccer teams could actually hang in top flight football leagues located around the world. Heck, I even recall the Red Bulls recently winning a competition that involved Boca Juniors, PSG and (gasp!) Arsenal as opponents.
MLS fans didn't wait long to respond to Morgan via Twitter.
"Piers Morgan has the lowest 9pm ratings for CNN in 21 years - that'll brighten up anyone's day."
"Says the glorified X-Factor judge #MLS @piersmorgan I've watched LA Galaxy live in MLS. It's glorified pub football. Even I'd get a game."
"So this is when we get a petition to have @piersmorgan to play in an #MLS match right? Don't be afraid to slide tackle!"
Steve Davis of Pro Soccer Talk Tweeted the following: "Seriously, when @piersmorgan says something as absurd as this, how can you put that guy on a broadcast and expect a shred of credibility?" Grant Wahl, who covers the game for both SI and FOX Soccer, called Morgan's comment "Laughable trolling." Ives Galarcep of Soccer by Ives and FOX Soccer called Morgan a "moron."
MLS remains a baby when compared with top flight European football leagues, a baby that's growing up rather nicely, thank you very much. I wonder if Morgan knows that we actually now have soccer/football specific stadiums in the US. They even put MLS games on national TV and everything! I honestly would love to see Morgan take part in a little training session with any MLS side. It could, if nothing else, provide some publicity for the league, as well as open Morgan's eyes to the reality that MLS isn't merely filled with "pub footballers."
Watch out for those falling ratings though, sir. They can be a killer.