Should MLS be Protecting Beckham?

I have an interesting article from the Toronto Star I want you to read. It’s about the Beckham injury, and particularly about what it means to MLS in the long run.

The main point seems to be that if Beckham keeps getting injured, he’s going to pack up his Goldenballs and retire, and this does not benefit MLS. What particularly interests me is the call for a “Beckham rule” unofficially calling for harsher punishment for anybody who harms Becks.

First interesting quote is here. Agree or disagree?

Since arriving, the half-speed star has been a punching bag out on the pitch, kicked to bits by every rough-houser he’s faced.

What do you think about this? Aside from the Steve Sidwell challenge from Chelsea (not an MLS side, in case nobody’s noticed, and the tackle wasn’t a foul if I’m remembering correctly) and the Jesse Marsch brawl-sparking nasty tackle in the Chivas game, have there been a lot of ugly ones? Refresh my memory, because I’m not remembering a lot out of the ordinary.

But here’s the really interesting part.

Perhaps the initial plan really was to play for five years. But Beckham will never be as hot as he is right now, particularly if he spends significant chunks of the next few years in emergency rooms. Watching someone writhe around on a soccer pitch doesn’t signal manly man to the American moviegoer Beckham is not-so-secretly courting.

If he’s wise, Beckham is planning his early retirement right now. If it is wise, the league is trying to figure out how to keep him. To that end, it’s time to institute a second “Beckham Rule” in MLS, one that has nothing to do with salary caps.

This one follows on the heels of the “Gretzky Rule.” In essence, it constructs an invisible shield around Beckham. The understanding should be that heedless or malicious tackles on Beckham will result in immediate expulsion and hefty disciplinary action. This can’t be an overt rule, obviously, merely an understood one.

Right now, right or wrong, Beckham is MLS to many casual fans. If the MLS can’t protect him, it might find its grand strategy following him out the door when he quits on it.

I’d really like to know what you think about this.

As you’re reading this, I’m probably in the air and headed to Paris. What’s that you say? My beloved France National Team will be playing while I’m there? Golly, that had completely escaped my notice. (And the ticket in my purse is not causing me to do the the happy dance. That you can see.) I’m not back till the 17th and am not taking my laptop, so anything for the next ten or so days will be hit or miss depending on my ability to find internet cafe-type places.

As always, please leave comments if anything interesting comes up.
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