Beck­ham de­nies sex gos­sip

Los Angeles Times - - Morning Briefing - GRA­HAME L. JONES ON SOC­CER

What a rogue some say that David Beck­ham fel­low is — those twin­kling eyes, that cheeky grin, that romp with a hooker.

What? You didn’t hear about that? Well, no sur­prise there. Beck­ham in­sists it never hap­pened.

But In Touch mag­a­zine, a celebrity gos­sip rag, claims that it did. It has the words of the “lady” her­self, and it went ahead and pub­lished them.

That brought Beck­ham’s army of le­gal ad­vi­sors snort­ing and charg­ing into the fray Thurs­day, the day be­fore the Galaxy’s most over­hyped game of the Ma­jor League Soc­cer sea­son, against the New York Red Bulls.

“The al­le­ga­tions that have been made are com­pletely un­true and to­tally ridicu­lous, as the mag­a­zine was clearly told be­fore pub­li­ca­tion,” a Beck­ham spokesman said.

“Sadly, we live in a world where a mag­a­zine can print lies and be­lieve they can get away with it. We are tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against the mag­a­zine.”

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports in Eng­land’s Guardian news­pa­per, the Beck­ham camp “is plan­ning to launch law­suits for mal­ice in the U.S. and for defama­tion and slan­der in Ger­many, where the mag­a­zine is also pub­lished.”

So what is this all re­ally about? A slip-up by Beck­ham, who has been mar­ried to his wife, Vic­to­ria, for 11 years?

They have three sons and ev­ery in­di­ca­tion, from Beck­ham at least, is that since mov­ing to Los An­ge­les their fam­ily life has been happy and trou­ble-free.

The mag­a­zine quoted a 26-year-old woman as say­ing that Beck­ham paid her and an­other pros­ti­tute $10,000 for a one-night stand in New York in Au­gust 2007, the year he joined the Galaxy.

One far-fetched no­tion was floated by Eng­land’s most scur­rilous tabloid, the Sun, the same pub­li­ca­tion whose fawn­ing cor­re­spon­dent was in the Galaxy locker room re­cently and asked Beck­ham to sign a No. 23 Beck­ham jersey for him. Jour­nal­is­tic pro­fes­sion­al­ism at its finest.

“One the­ory about the al­le­ga­tions is that they may be an at­tempt to un­der­mine Eng­land’s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup,” the Sun said.

“Becks is one of our lead­ing am­bas­sadors.”

What­ever the rea­son, the tim­ing of the rev­e­la­tions is un­for­tu­nate for “Becks,” who is sched­uled to fly to Trinidad im­me­di­ately af­ter Fri­day night’s match to at­tend Satur­day’s fi­nal of the FIFA Un­der-17 Women’s World Cup be­tween Ja­pan and South Korea.

In Port of Spain, Beck­ham, in his role as Eng­land’s World Cup bid poster boy, is set to meet Joseph “Sepp” Blat­ter, FIFA’s pres­i­dent. Were Blat­ter in­clined to pry, at least part of their con­ver­sa­tion might be quite in­ter­est­ing. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, and all that.

Beck­ham is seek­ing a front-page — in other words, on the cover — re­trac­tion from In Touch, which should keep the pot boil­ing for a while longer.

Mean­while, the Galaxy was left Thurs­day try­ing, with only limited suc­cess, to keep the fo­cus on its game against the Red Bulls. But the wrong ques­tions kept be­ing asked dur­ing the lead-up.

Why was Beck­ham be­ing al­lowed to go to Trinidad when he is still try­ing to re­gain full fit­ness?

“That’s some­thing that’s been planned for a while, and we’re sup­port­ive of it,” Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said, al­though adding tongue in cheek, “We’re hop­ing the U.S. gets the World Cup and not Eng­land.

“Cer­tainly, it’s not a per­fect sit­u­a­tion for us, but he’s not go­ing to be trav­el­ing by boat and he should be all right. David’s an ex­pe­ri­enced trav­eler.”

Fri­day night’s match had been billed as the Beck­ham ver­sus Henry duel, a ref­er­ence to French for­ward Thierry Henry, who ar­rived in the U.S. in July, then went down be­cause of a right knee in­jury. Sound fa­mil­iar, Galaxy fans?

Arena was un­con­cerned. “They did pretty well be­fore Henry ar­rived, and I’m sure they’re well-po­si­tioned to play with­out him,” he said of the Red Bulls. “I don’t think they’ll miss a beat.”

Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe said Henry’s in­jury is not se­ri­ous.

“I don’t think it’s a big one that needs surgery or any­thing,” he said. “It’s more how to han­dle the pain. We will not take any risks with him.”

Arena is be­ing just as cau­tious with Beck­ham, who re­cently re­turned from surgery on a torn left Achilles’ ten­don.

“Our goal is to get him com­pletely match-fit by play­off time,” Arena said.

Match-fit and free of dis­trac­tions, he should have said.

gra­hame.jones@latimes.com

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