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Fire Thu Jul 10 2008

Cuahtemoc Blanco: A Guy That Punches People

Within a week of an alleged fistfight with teammate Wilman Conde, Cuahtemoc Blanco was at it again. This time, at least, he remembered to hit someone on the opposing team as Blanco was red carded during the Chicago Fire’s US Open Cup overtime loss against DC United for hitting Clyde Simms in the chest. I saw the footage on YouTube and the red card was completely justified. Additionally, there are reports of Blanco head-butting a DC United official.

Hey, why did I have to resort to YouTube highlights to see this incident anyway? Oh, yeah, the altercation took place during the US Open Cup, which is criminally neglected and didn’t air on TV anywhere. And hey, why aren’t I linking to the YouTube highlights I speak of? Well, MLS has taken them down. Either they did so to keep up with their policy of making sure nobody is aware of the US Open Cup, or to protect the super-sanitized, phony, squeaky clean vision of the game or they’re trying to keep it under wraps while they’re disciplinary committee decides what to do about it. Whatever the reason, it’s stupid. I've never had non-soccer fans wanting to talk soccer with me like I did after Zidane’s head butt. This isn’t anywhere near that scale, but it’s news and should be treated as such.

While Blanco punching people is news, it isn’t exactly new. Blanco came into the league with a reputation as a temperamental figure. A cursory glance of YouTube reveals this grainy footage of him sucker punching a TV commentator in Mexico and starting this melee between his Mexican team, Club America, and Brazilian club Sao Catenio. (That's him throwing the elbow at the beginning).

It’s actually surprising that it’s taken us this long to see the dark side of Blanco. It’s not a coincidence that it happened while the Fire are winless in five games. The guy is frustrated. This isn’t a defense of his actions. There is a whole squad of frustrated Fire players right now who haven’t punched anyone. I won’t be complaining when the league throws whatever suspension is coming his way. But creative players, from Diego Maradona to Eric Cantona to Zinadine Zidane, have a long history of lashing out when things don’t go according to their vision. With players like this, as a fan, you have to learn to take the bad with the good.

What we shouldn’t have to learn to live with are things like this quote about Blanco from DC United defender Marc Burch:

"He gets away with a lot of stuff because he's Blanco and he's from Mexico and he's a big name. But he can't do that stuff to any of my teammates."

Can someone please tell me what Blanco being Mexican has to do with any of this?

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Brian Berry / July 10, 2008 12:09 PM

It's Marc Burch, not Adam.

Steve GilliesAuthor Profile Page / July 10, 2008 1:09 PM

Woops. Thanks for the correction Brian.

caveman / July 11, 2008 11:43 AM

Maybe I'm being too generous here, but I think he was referring to the fact that he is a famous player whose fame is derived from his time in Mexico. He is famous and popular among Mexican soccer fans. That's why it was in the same sentence, and right before "he's a big name". He's a famous foreign import, a designated player, and as such is afforded more leeway by referees and some fans.

It's not like he said he is a dirty player because he's from Mexico, he was referring to why he gets away with it, not why he does it.

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