This Unsporting Life: David Beckham's Plummeting Popularity

The decline and fall of David Beckham, soccer superstar, can be glimpsed in the recent headlines below. The British midfielder's popularity began falling last spring when Beckham scuttled his contract with the L.A. Galaxy so that he could return to European team play. Los Angeles fans turned on him during a July home game in Carson, when one of them jumped a fence and was escorted out of Home Depot Center and then, seemingly banned for life.

1. Unwelcome Mat Is Out for Beckham

(New York Times, ‎July 20)‎ Early report on Home Depot Center fracas and Beckham's waning popularity.

2. No Ban for Anti-Beckham Fan Who Jumped Field

(Associated Press, ‎July 27) A week after the Carson incident sympathy had tilted toward the apparently unruly fan.)

3. David Beckham: I Love Vacuuming (People, July 27) The headline is a U.K.-media spin based on a People Q&A in which Becks declared, "

I'm very passionate about cleanliness and housework. I love to vacuum." Clearly an I'm-just-a-bloke outreach to commoners.

4. Beckham's Back Is a Concern

(Los Angeles Times, ‎July 31) A gym-class ploy for sympathy?

5. Beckham says that he is happy to be playing for L.A. Galaxy, (ANI August 1)  Pandering to local fans: I love it here. I really do.

6. Becks Under Fire for Endorsing Controversial Health Firm

(Hindustan Times, others, August 3)  Herbalife. Say no more.

7. David Beckham Reveals Sources of Inspiration

(Dallas Morning News, ‎August 3) Misplaced family-man yarns directed at the Heartland.

8. David Beckham To Join Arnold Schwarzenegger in California (Daily Telegraph,

U.K., August 3)  Going down with the ship -- Becks joins the incredible

shrinking governor in an ad campaign promoting the imploding Golden

State

9. Shaq to Beckham -- You're Afraid, Very Afraid

(TMZ.com,

August 4) A variation on a weeklong story of basketball star/rapper

Shaquille O'Neal's‎

"challenge" to Beckham to play a one-on-one soccer match with O'Neal.

Among other things, O'Neal has called Beckham "cowardly" for not

joining him on O'Neal's new reality TV show. Perhaps Becks is too busy

pursuing one of his many other passions -- such as vacuuming.


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