Language Wars – U.S. Player Lashes Out At Spanish Coverage of Gold Cup Ceremony
PASADENA, Calif. — The vast majority of the 93,420 fans gathered at the Rose Bowl for Saturday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final had absolutely no problem whatsoever with the postgame ceremony. They loved it, in fact, saving their loudest cheers for beloved tournament MVP Javier “Chícharito” Hernández and the moment when Mexico national team captain Rafael Márquez hoisted the enormous golden trophy that symbolized El Tri’s sixth continental title.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard felt very differently. Still stinging from the Americans’ 4-2 defeat, Howard ripped organizers for a ceremony designed to cater to what obviously was a pro-Mexican crowd. He emerged from the U.S. locker room and approached a group of reporters, and Sporting News asked the first question. It concerned the game and Mexico’s glut of young, talented players.
Tim Howard is consoled after the Americans’ defeat in the Gold Cup final. The post-match ceremony further upset Howard. (AP Photo)
Howard responded with this:
“CONCACAF should be ashamed of themselves. I think it was a (expletive) disgrace that the entire post-match ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your (butt) if we were in Mexico City it wouldn’t be all in English.”
The goalkeeper composed himself and then said, “That’s not why we lost the game. They have some special players.”
The trophy ceremony was emceed by Fernando Fiore, a popular sports anchor on U.S. Spanish-language TV network Univision, which broadcast the Gold Cup. Several observers said Fiore did use some English during the ceremony, which included the awarding of silver medals to the vanquished U.S., but most of the proceedings were conducted in the language of the victors. Sporting News was at the Rose Bowl during rehearsal earlier Saturday, when Fiore used far more English than he did following the game.
Another awkward moment occurred after the Americans collected their medals, as organizers attempted to usher them behind a Gold Cup sign for a team photo. The players appeared to have no interest and several tried to walk away as officials attempted to steer the team back. As some lingered and some headed toward the locker room, it became clear the picture wasn’t going to happen. The stage hands gave up and turned their attention toward Mexico.
Howard was asked about that moment, and said, “It never ceases to amaze me, all that stuff.”
It was a strange end to a tough night for the U.S., which not only included a blown 2-0 lead in a championship game, but the difficulty of feeling like a visiting team on home soil. Mexican fans occupied what appeared to be 80 percent to 90 percent of the Rose Bowl.
“Obviously, the support that Mexico has on a night like tonight makes it a home game for them,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “Certainly we have some fans, but the overwhelming amount of support (for Mexico) is something that we expected and as a team we understand it’s part of what we’ve got to deal with tonight. It was still a great atmosphere.”