Los Angeles Soccer: Reggie Lambe
December, 9, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Brad Friedel's criticism of Landon Donovan? It's all a misunderstanding, the American goalkeeper said Friday, after his remarks to BBC's World Service earlier this week caused a major stir in soccer circles on this side of the Atlantic.
“Not in a million years would I disparage an American player,” Friedel told Major League Soccer's website after comments he made, that Donovan “chose to take the easy road and stay in the States” rather than play in England and that “he gets a lot more notoriety because [soccer is] sponsorship-driven” in the U.S., went viral Thursday.
Friedel, 40, the former U.S. national team star who plays for Tottenham in London, reached out the MLS's website and to Donovan's representatives to apologize that what he said was twisted so badly.
His remarks came in response to a question about midfielder Clint Dempsey, who scored his 37th English Premier League goal Monday for Fulham, setting a new standard for Americans in the world's most respected league.
“My two comments were that Clint plays over here and a lot of it is sponsorship-driven [in the US], trying to create heroes over in the U.S.,” Friedel said. “I used Landon as an example. When I said 'easy road,' I’m not saying that everything Landon has done is easy because he stayed in the U.S. I’m not saying that at all. I could have used other players as an example. It’s just that Landon came up at the tip of my tongue because he’s one of the best U.S. players.
“At no time did I want to disparage or demean Landon Donovan in an way, shape or form. And if people read my quotes in a negative manner, I apologize for that. But at no time would I ever speak publicly in a negative way about another American player and mean it and actually go out and have a go at the guy. That’s not me. That’s not my personality.”