Beckham fined $1,000 by MLS for gestures to fans
NEW YORK: David Beckham was fined $1,000 by Major League Soccer, which said his gestures toward taunting fans suggested that they leave their seats and come on the field.
The fine by MLS commissioner Don Garber on Friday came five days after the English star confronted Los Angeles Galaxy fans in a group called the L.A. Riot Squad. The Galaxy and AC Milan played to a 2-2 tie in an exhibition game. Beckham played with AC Milan this year and was booed through much of the game.
"We support our players interacting with fans, whether it is at clinics, charity events or by high-fiving their supporters in the stands while celebrating a goal," Garber said. "However, our players should never engage in conduct that can be interpreted as encouraging fans to come out of the stands and onto the field, regardless of the reason."
At halftime, Beckham walked toward the group while shouting and pointing. He challenged fans to meet him on the field and tried to lift himself over advertising boards before security intervened. Police arrested a fan who left the stands.
Then after a second-half corner kick in front of the Riot Squad's section, Beckham immediately turned to those fans, put his index finger to his lips, shrugged his shoulders and blew them a kiss. The kick resulted in a goal.
Beckham has been unapologetic about his actions.
"At the end of the day, I play my game," Beckham said Thursday. "If it's not good enough for some people, as long as it's good enough for myself and the team, nothing else matters."
The Riot Squad blamed Beckham for agitating the situation in a statement on the group's Web site Thursday.
"Had David responded differently on Sunday, the booing and the chanting probably would have ended at halftime," the statement said. "We don't believe questioning Beckham's commitment to our team is over the line, but it's clear that David feels otherwise."