Biting of U.S. players now a meaty issue
PHILADELPHIA» Pushing and shoving? Of course. Pinching? Borderline. But biting? Retired stars Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas and Steve McManaman said lengthy suspensions are needed to stop players from sinking their teeth into opponents, as El Salvadorans did against Americans Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“In my hierarchy of things, it’s spitting at the top and then biting as a close second of the most vile, disgusting and to be quite honest ridiculous things to do on a sporting field,” Lalas said Thursday, a day after Altidore was bitten on the back of a shoulder by Henry Romero in the 57th minute of the Americans’ 2-0 quarterfinal win. Gonzalez was gnawed by El Salvador captain Darwin Cerin in the 81st.
Bites have become a meaty problem for soccer.
“The only way to put a stop to this is to have lengthy suspensions. I understand that people make bad decisions in the heat of the moment, but it can never be acceptable to bite an opponent,” said Donovan, like Lalas now an analyst for Fox Sports. “I would assume that CONCACAF will take a particularly hard stance given their insistence on the captains speaking before each game about the importance of acting in an appropriate manner and that ‘our children are watching.’ ”
Romero also twisted Altidore’s nipple during the jostling ahead of a corner kick.