A sign of the Times

Phil Anschutz courtesy of the New York Times.

Phil Anschutz is soccer’s international man of mystery, but it’s also a mystery how within this otherwise good (if fairly standard) piece dated yesterday about the elusive head of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (and owner of three MLS teams), Graham Bowley of the New York Times wrote:

Although British tabloids have been filled with accounts of (David) Beckham’s extra-marital exploits, Mr. Leiweke favors words like “respect,” “integrity,” “character” and “family” when discussing the virtues that attracted AEG to the soccer star.

“That blue-collar work ethic in him, that is why we bet on David Beckham,” he says. Mr. Leiweke says AEG is now in talks to bring a second international star to the Chicago Fire, another of Mr. Anschutz’s soccer teams. “We are working on a deal right now,” he says, before suggesting whom he is trying to snare. “There are only four players that move the needle: Ronaldo. Beckham. Zidane. Ronaldinho.”

If you’re like me, or like most vertebrates who actually follow Major League Soccer, you already know that the guy AEG actually signed for Mr. Anschutz’ Chicago team is not one of the four guys “that move the needle,” but Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who signed three weeks ago.

I’m guessing Bowley wrote this article weeks ago, and the editors at the Gray Lady never actually went through it to see if anything had changed in it since it was submitted, seeing as how the subject of the article was still alive. That’s probably good enough for them.

And it’s yet another example of how the mainstream media sucks when it comes to coverage of soccer (even though this is basically a business article with some soccer in it).

UPDATE (4/24): Apparently the English press, so determined to one-up their competition, has jumped on the above quote as evidence that Zenedine Zidane is going to come out of retirement to join the Fire.

Kenn Tomasch

Kenn Tomasch