The 33-year-old went on a post practice rant about Turf fields and the league's media policy. Is Henry beginning to regret his decision of joining the league?
The 33-year-old legendary France striker ripped the league today for having teams that continue to play on turf fields and admitted that he is frustrated with its media requirements after practice yesterday.
Asked whether or not he would play in an upcoming match against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, according to New York Daily News he asked, “Is it a turf field?”
Then when he was told that the Rapids play on grass, he responded.
“No. I already knew (it was a grass field), so I will play.”
The fact that several teams continue to use turf remains a serious issue for MLS. Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and New England play on the artificial surface. Several players complain that turf can cause injuries and for foreign players it is absolute nightmare especially after being used to the all grass pitches of the continent’s top leagues.
"Maybe I need to remind you even more,” Henry said. “I think it wasn’t stupid when I told you turf is one of the most severe things I’ve seen for us to play on.”
He especially bashed Seattle’s Qwest Field, a stadium that regularly draws the league's largest fan base with an average of 37,000 fans a night.
“And the one in Seattle, I don't know if you can call it turf. It's not turf any more. You might as well play on (the running track at Montclair State University in New Jersey) or around my house."
One strange aspect is MLS’ compling to foreign teams in their demands to have grass fields. When Manchester United came to play against the New England Revolution in its USA tour opener earlier this week, there was grass laid on the field above the team’s standard turf.
If it can be done to please teams visiting from overseas, then why can’t it be done for the league’s players? There is an interesting double standard happening in MLS. The league declined to discuss the issue after an email inquiry.
Henry’s criticism of MLS didn’t stop at the turf fields. He is getting agitated with the amount of media that he is required to talk to after every game and practice. In Europe, players are not required to speak with the media and it is rare that a star player of Henry’s global status gives interviews at all.
The former Arsenal and Barcelona star was asked if there was anything he could say to rally his teammates and he replied, "How many messages do you want? How many times do we speak here?"
"So I don't have anything much to say any more. We do speak a lot every time. I've spoken more here than in my entire career. I don't speak to the press the way I speak here. So I don't know what else you want me to say. We've got to win against Chivas. That's it."
Henry has another four years on his contract with the Red Bulls, it will be interesting to see if he remains for its duration.
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