The Morning Column: August 26, 2021
The MLS All-Star Game was momentarily halted after some fans used a chant that continues to plague Mexican soccer. While the chant stopped Wednesday it will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
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1. ⚽️ MLS All-Star Game halted after discriminatory chant
You could feel the chant coming. It began as it always does.
About 10 minutes into Wednesday’s All-Star Game between MLS and Liga MX at Banc of California Stadium, fans began to shout and yell in unison before a goal kick and belted out the same chant that has been a part of Mexican soccer for years.
Here’s what it sounded like for those who aren’t familiar with it:
I’ll leave the translation to you (or Google Translate if you don’t speak Spanish) but it isn’t pretty.
FIFA has tried to get fans to stop the chant for years and have gone so far as implementing a three-step plan that was utilized during Wednesday’s game, which was stopped when the chant was heard by officials.
The first step is play is halted and a verbal warning is issued by the public address announcer, the second step is the game is suspended and the players are removed from the field and the third step is the game ends.
Luckily for fans at Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday, there was no need for steps two and three and MLS and Liga MX played to a 1-1 draw before MLS won the five-round penalty shootout, 3-2.
The chant will likely never die no matter what any team or governing body tries to do. FIFA’s punishments have been half-assed at best and are often laughed at by most fans who refuse to stop. Since 2015, FIFA has fined the Mexican Football Federation 16 times for the chat, with the average fine being about $21,000. The fans behind the chant aren’t paying that fine, of course, and it’s a drop in the bucket for the federation.
It’s like a substitute teacher hopelessly trying to quiet down a group of rowdy students during a field trip right before summer break. It’s just not happening.
FIFA doesn’t help matters when they rule, for example, that Mexico must play two World Cup qualifiers without fans as punishment for the chants and then reduces the ban to just one game. That ban is scheduled to be applied Sept. 2 when Mexico plays Jamaica at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City unless, of course, that ban is lifted as well.
The chant should have been retired by fans years ago. Even those who defend it as not hateful and just a joke must at least admit it’s lazy and sophomoric at best. Fans can certainly do better but this isn’t like an ownership group changing a team name or logo. It isn’t as simple to get a stadium full of fans to follow a rule they don’t like and feel is depriving them of a gameday ritual. The crazy part about the chant is that it isn’t some time-honored, cultural tradition that has been around since Hugo Sanchez was playing. The chant began in the 2000s and wasn’t on FIFA’s radar until recently. In 2014, the FIFA disciplinary committee actually ruled that the chant was “not considered insulting” and refused to discipline the Mexican Football Federation.
That would change one year later but many fans aren’t as quick to change their ways as FIFA’s disciplinary committee is to change their opinions. The chant will continue for the foreseeable future but luckily for fans at Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday, it’s stopped just long enough for Los Angeles to enjoy watching the best players in MLS and Liga MX share the same field for one night.
2. ⚾️ Good morning baseball
How many of you stayed up until 1 a.m. for the final out of the Dodgers-Padres game in San Diego? The game went 16 innings and took nearly six hours to complete before AJ Pollock finally hit a two-run homer to lead off the 16th inning. This is how I felt this morning after watching until the bitter end.
If you missed the ending (or the game) here’s what happened.
3. 🏀 Nneka Ogwumike part of $100 million investment in women’s sports
I was in the grocery store yesterday when I saw Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike’s picture on a case of Michelob Ultra. I took the above picture and sent it to my brother and father, who are Sparks season ticket holders. It was great seeing a big brand get behind women’s sports and then Thursday I got an e-mail announcing Michelob Ultra was committing $100 million to support gender equity in sports.
The brand announced it would be “dedicating 50% of its lifestyle media inventory to content that features and promotes female athletes and women's sports by 2025” and “representing female and male athletes equally in all advertising creative moving forward.” Ogwukmike will be one of the leading faces of the campaign along with Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis.
"It's not just about making a statement today," Ogwumike said in a statement. "It's also about setting goals and taking actionable steps toward gender equality on and off the court, which is why I'm proud to be a partner of Michelob Ultra and will continue to support their commitment to women's sports equality."
4. 🎤 Abby Hornacek on college sports, NIL
Fox Nation’s Abby Hornacek, who was a former beach volleyball player at USC, stopped by The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 AM and Spotify yesterday and talked about the new season of her show, “PARK’D” and also commented on the new rules that allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. Hornacek, who is the daughter of former NBA player and coach Jeff Hornacek, wasn’t sure how the new rules would change how we view college athletics moving forward.
“I do worry about the loss of amateurism,” Hornacek said. “When you're young and you're in college and you don't have to worry about the next contract, I think there's something really special to that and it instills tradition and values in not only the sport but the people watching the sport. So, from that standpoint I do worry a little bit about athletes being paid.”
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
6. 📆 Aug. 26, 1926: First televised Major League Baseball Game
On this date 82 years ago, the first Major League Baseball game was televised on W3XBS, which would become WNBC (for you Howard Stern fans out there). The first televised game was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field with hall of fame announcer Red Barber calling the action.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday James Harden
Happy birthday to James Harden. The Brooklyn Nets guard is turning 32 today. Harden was born in Los Angeles and attended Artesia High School in Lakewood before going to Arizona State. He was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the third overall pick in the 2009 draft (Stephen Curry was drafted seventh that year) and teamed with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to form one of the greatest trios in league history. His career took off in 2012 when he was traded to the Houston Rockets and went on to become a 9-time NBA All-Star, 6-time All-NBA First Team player and win the NBA MVP in 2018. He is now reunited with Durant in Brooklyn as the Nets enter next season as the co-favorites to win the championship along with the Lakers.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
⚾️ Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres – $18
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 4 p.m. – Los Angeles Sparks at Connecticut Sun – Spectrum SportsNet
🏀 6 p.m. – Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres – SportsNet LA, ESPN
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Wednesday’s show, we talked to Abby Hornacek about her new shows and her journey from USC to covering prep sports in San Diego to becoming one of the faces of Fox Nation.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow!