Andrea Canales: So - New York and Los Angeles fans - some at least, chanted "U.S. Reject" at Brian Ching this past week as his Houston Dynamo team lost both games. Is Ching's getting left off the World Cup team off-limits for the fan mocking - beyond the pale, so to speak - or fair game?
Luis Bueno: I think that's pretty low, to be honest. I mean, if it happened at BMO Field, well, that's one thing, but to happen here in the States I think is sad, to be honest. I understand that not all MLS fans are U.S. national team fans, but still, I suspect many of them chanting also support the U.S.
Allen Ramsey: Yeah. Taking shots at Ching for being a U.S. reject is a bit low.
Canales: Hmm, I don't like the idea that a U.S. national team player gets a pass when he's in club colors - I mean, that was the argument for San Jose fans ripping on Donovan when he joined the Galaxy. They'd cheer for him in the USA squad, they said, but never as a member of their hated rivals. And D.C. fans, as well as in New York, really let Donovan have it after the 2006 World Cup. Remember the poster of him with a pacifier?
Bueno: Underperforming with the national team is one thing, but to kick a guy when he's down is something else. Of course, I would expect fans to boo players for their U.S. antics but I wouldn't expect to rip on a guy after getting cut from the U.S. team.
Ramsey: Especially a guy who probably only got cut because he got hurt.
Zac Lee Rigg: That's what bothers me. He was supposedly injured, but he's been starting games since.
Canales: I don't see a huge difference between heckling for a poor performance or a late roster cut that could be related to training performance. And come on, as far as injuries, fans cheer when the other side gets hurt. How does an injury change the whole game of trying to get into an opponents head? That's what fans are supposed to do. Take whatever weakness they can think of - and rip on players for it. Remember Clint Mathis scoring and ripping off his shirt after getting heckled for being fat? That's probably the best answer right there.
Evans: Ching would have got puked on if he came to Philly.
Bueno: Ah, but Andrea, you had a problem when Chivas fans held up some signs about Victoria Beckham during a SuperClasico a few years back.
Canales: Yeah, because she doesn't play. I think players are fair game. They know that's part of the game. Families don't choose to play. They just fall in love or are born to someone who does.
Ramsey: I guess. I still don't like it. There are plenty of other things to get on guys about than being cut from the World Cup squad.
Canales: Well, the thing is, it bothers me to finally see USA fans caring about their clubs - and NY fans and Galaxy fans wanting their clubs to win at almost any cost, being told, "Stop that! Care, but not that much. Be polite about it!" Of course I think it was rude, but I think all heckling is pretty rude.
Rigg: I once got thrown out of a high school game for cheering too loudly. Now that fans are getting actually rude, it just makes me so proud. We've come so far.
Evans: It means they care. In a weird way, anyway.
Canales: But I do feel badly for Brian. . . it's a tough call. I was mad Bruce Arena didn't give him a chance in 2006. Brian is such a nice guy, really. I hope he bounces back.
Bueno: I guess what bugs me is that Ching is being called out and ripped for things that he did not control. He didn't underperform in a huge tournament; he didn't miss an open goal that could have given the U.S. an historic win; he didn't have a silly red card that hampered the U.S. He got cut. And it was not his decision. They're not ripping him because of his on-the-field performances, they're picking on him and teasing him over something that is very painful for him. Tasteless.
Ramsey: Classless. Not that we haven't seen much worse, but I still don't like it.
Bueno: It's kind of the same thing when readers would rip on me when I was overweight. They wouldn't talk about what I wrote about necessarily or try to counter what i was saying. They looked for the easy way out, which was my weight. I was an open target because of that. Talk about my writing and my columns and all that, fine, but when you rip on me for my physical appearance, that's just low. Of course, I responded by losing more than 100 pounds so take that, haters. It would have been nice for Ching to have responded with a goal.
Evans: Showed them.
Canales: Yeah, in a way, I think Ching letting the chants get to him might have fueled the whole thing. I mean, did people chant "U.S. reject" at Robbie Rogers this past week? Or any of the other guys who didn't make the final cut? Once fans get a hint something is getting to a player, they just do it more. A lot of fans are 50 percent emotion at games, 49 percent beer and 1 percent brain.
Ramsey: Let me say this. I don't actually feel bad for Ching. He's a pro, that's part of it. But I do still think it's childish. Still, he's a high profile guy and he's going to have shots taken at him. Players have to be thick skinned. It comes with the job.
Rigg: I feel horrible for Ching. I thought he really deserved to be there and he knows he probably won't be that close in four years.
Ramsey: Well, I feel bad for him getting cut, not for what fans said.
Bueno: I don't know, but I think part of me thinks it's kinda lame because MLS is still small. I mean, if it's a baseball player making $10 million a year getting ripped on, I don't really have a lot of sympathy. In fact, I'd like to rip on some Dodgers who are making a lot of money and not performing. But saying Ching's a pro and he should take the heckling while considering that he makes, what, a couple of hundred grand a year? Yeah, not chump change for the average person, but definitely not in the multi-million dollar range either.
Canales: Zac, who would you pull to put Ching on the roster? I think Bradley made the right call. Like I said, I'm more mad that Arena didn't play Ching in his prime. He's past it now, and how easily Omar Gonzalez handled him in the Galaxy game I think is very telling.
Bueno: Of course, Ching did score a goal against Philly and one in New York before the Galaxy game.
Rigg: I'd have Ching there before any striker barring Jozy Altidore. Take your pick.
Canales: I didn't say he wasn't any good. But he's past his prime. He's not going to have a renaissance like Jeff Cunningham. And I don't know, I'm not sure aobut the salary argument. Some of the worst heckling fans I've seen are at USL games and their players make even less than MLS players. But their fans care - and to say that you have to think about how much or how little a player makes before heckling - once again, gives fans too much responsiblity to assume while drinking. Final thoughts on Ching?
Evans: Couldn't have happened to a better guy, in my opinion.
Rigg: I think I would like to give the big guy a hug.
Bueno: I'd just like to see him continue scoring and turn his World Cup omission into a positive.
Ramsey: Love to see him put some goals in the LA net during the playoffs this year.
Canales: I'd like to see Ching play abroad, actually. Make that big payday Luis pointed out he hasn't gotten yet.
Bueno: He could join Sacha Kljestan in Anderlecht.
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