Referees have known for decades that players, coaches, managers will do whatever an official will allow them to do. That message seems to have been lost in the evolution of Major League Soccer, for in game after game, players dissent loudly and vigorously; bad fouls, especially the second-caution kind, go unpunished; free kicks are delayed until defenders are back in position. With all this going on, the game loses some of its spectacle, and no one seems intent on changing things.
But not too many days ago, a star player who will soon operate with David Beckham, was asked at the national referee training session, why he gets after referees so much, why he acts out on the field to the consternation of real fans of the sport. Why does a good player spoil his game by behaving badly?