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Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis

October 30, 2011
Enough with Marquez's infantile antics

Rafa Marquez: the Red Bulls' $4.6 million man with the feet of clay.
Rafa Marquez: the Red Bulls' $4.6 million man with the feet of clay.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

HARRISON, N.J. -- He may have no problem throwing a ball at Landon Donovan after a game. But Red Bulls midfielder Rafa Marquez proven to have no balls when it comes to talking to the media.

While he has struggled on the field during this season for the Red Bulls, the captain of the Mexican National Team has proved to be one slippery indidivual when it comes to avoiding the English-speaking media.

After getting a red card for his latest escapade -- throwing a ball at the U.S. National Team and LA Galaxy star midfielder after the Red Bulls dropped the first leg of the Red Bulls' 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.

Hopefully, it will be his final game with the Red Bulls, because the 32-year-old former Barcelona defender has burned way too many bridges from his lackadasical play, horrendous taking of dead balls, from free to corner to penalty kicks, and to his criticism of teammate Tim Ream.

When it comes to U.S. internationals, Marquez has become a thug.

Take a look at his rap sheet:

* In Mexico's humiliating World Cup 2-0 loss to Mexico at the 2002 World Cup, he head-butted Cobi Jones in the waning minutes.

* During a 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to the U.S. in Columbus, Ohio in February, 2009, Marquez went studs up into goalkeeper Tim Howard while he was catching a cross.

* The Tim Ream incident (verbal)

* And now Donovan.

Who's next? Teammate Juan Agudelo?

Why, you might say that Marquez's reaction to the media was ahem, "infantile." For the uniformed, Marquez ripped Ream after the 3-1 home defeat to Real Salt Lake on Sept. 21, calling his play "infantile."

If a player doesn't talk to the media, he isn't communicating with the fans. Most players will get a pass for a game or two. In fact, Marquez has proven better slipping members of the media than man markers on the field.

Marquez has managed to avoid the media for more than a month. New York Post writer Brian Lewis said that he has tried talking to the Mexican on 14 occasions, but to no avail.

If you are a designated player and earn some $4.6 million a year playing soccer, especially in the United States, it is a player's responsibility to meet with the press -- despite the good, bad and ugly -- after the game (the Red Bulls certainly have not gotten their money's worth ouyt of Marquez).

If you can't do that, a player should abdicate his lofty position as a well-paid designated player and find another team somewhere else.

This might sound harsh, but Marquez's antics have gotten out of hand.

This isn't Mexico. This isn't Spain. This is the United States and Major League Soccer.

If you can't take the heat, then get out of the proverbial kitchen.

I know there are many fans and members of the media who would pay for a one-way ticket to anywhere out of the United States.
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