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Was it 'red, white and boo'?


Gold Cup Soccer_Nost
That was part of the headline over a column in the Los Angeles Times following Mexico’s rousing 4-2 victory over the U.S. national soccer team Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

For anyone who watched the game on television _ and certainly much of Mexico did _ one had to be be struck by the leanings of the crowd. According to this Yahoo Sports story, “Mexico was supported by more than 80 percent of the 93,420 in attendance.”

That is an extraordinary statistic. And certainly the red-white-and-green Mexico flags, hats, facepaint and signs in the stands attest to its veracity. One can’t help but wonder if there is any other country in the world that can host a “home game” and have its fans be outnumbered in such a hostile way.

This touched a raw nerve for some Americans. As the LA Times sports columnist wrote, “This was Staples Center filled with Boston Celtics fans.”

The columnist quoted a 37-year-old resident, Victor Sanchez, who said, "We're not booing the country, we're booing the team. There is a big difference.” It noted that fans such as Sanchez reside in the United States while their sporting souls dwell elsewhere.

"But eventually, the rules for their unrequited love get tricky. Because eventually, Mexico ends up playing the U.S. team on U.S. soil. And then folks start wondering, as they surely did Saturday, is it really right for folks who live here to boo and jeer as if they don't?"

The columnist, Bill Plaschke, went on:

“How many places are so diverse that it could fill football stadiums with folks whose roots are somewhere else? How many places offer such a freedom of speech that someone can display an American flag on their porch one day and cheer against the flag the next? I hated it, but I loved it. I was felt as if I was in a strange place, and yet I felt right at home.”

Some analysts saw the Rose Bowl game as a new sign of the reconquista _ or reconquest _ of the American Southwest by Mexicans and were offended by the sentiments of the LA Times piece. Here’s an excerpt from the American Thinker website:

“That a Los Angles Times writer approves of the most recent Rose Bowl spectacle underscores yet again that many in the mainstream media are out-of-step with what most Americans believe.”


The American Thinker essayist, David Paulin, goes on to quote the famous late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington (he of The Clash of Civilizations) who wrote in Foreign Policy magazine in 1998 that he was appalled by Mexican residents of the U.S. who booed the U.S. national anthem and cheered for Mexican sports teams.

"Such dramatic rejections of the United States and assertions of Mexican identity are not limited to an extremist minority in the Mexican-American community. Many Mexican immigrants and their offspring simply do not appear to identify primarily with the United States."


One objective fact amid all this interpretation: Mexicans probably care about soccer far more than Americans and would be more inclined to go to the Rose Bowl to see the game.

From personal experience, I’d also suggest that it remains foolish to underestimate the huge assimilative powers that have made the United States exceptional over the past several centuries.  

My stepdaughter lived only two years in the U.S. during her adolescence since her mother and I moved often between Latin America and Asia. She used to voice some disdain toward the U.S., influenced by friends from Europe and elsewhere. Some of this may have been to needle me (her mother is from Nicaragua). But then she went off to university two years ago in the Boston area. Let me tell you, the richness of her experience there has left an indelible imprint on her. She could hardly be more American now. Even if her roots are foreign, her appreciation of the American experience is profound. 


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I get the point Julie. The article offered no informative views, but rather treated demagogues seriously, why? The article relied on the standard 3 to 4 quotes - although from non-authoritative, non-credible figures. None of these sources know anything about football or Mexico. The closest the article comes is one comment by a guy named Sanchez and mentioning a girl whose mother was from Nicaragua. And you are still wondering why I don't like this empty article?

I dont value appeasement. Did you take away anything new and informative from this article or is this just noise. I only value intelligence. Even his comment looking to appease, about how only America has diversity - do people till believe this?! Gag me!.

Even when Mexico wins, in the US it is yet another opportunity to spin it to promote blind US patriotism. Yes great country, now can we have informative news? Anyone who says "from Europe" or "Africa" as if its one country, culture, mindset is ignorant including the author.

Julie R Butler

Dear Chuckroll,

I think you are missing the point of the article. It was not Tim Johnson who thought that the boos and hisses were news worthy. The point of this post is to point to other commentators who thought that this was news worthy as well as to the reactions to those stories, by way of which he was pointing out some people’s xenophobia i.e. the people at The American Thinker and their readers.

To speak to these ideologues, he points out that sports rivalry is very different from judging an entire country and further points out that having foreign roots does not diminish one’s patriotism for the country that they happen to be living in.

I totally agree with your criticisms of the US’s role in Mexico – so does that surprise you? Or are you falling into the same kind of generalization of an entire population that is so sickening about what the xenophobes who are demonizing all people of Mexican descent are doing?


Interesting article...even more peculiar focus on a slanted question. You do realize you asked a question when you knew the answer was 'no'. Assuming you have perfect judge: you are basically asking "Is the new judge corrupt? And by did way is he a wife-beater" Nice trick.

With no surprise, someone from
a country that supplies Mexico with 70% of its illegal guns, provides the demand for murderous drug traffickers, child traffickers, enslavers..., would rather dig up the "atrocity" of a barely audible 'boo' or 'hiss' as a news worthy story.

How does a Nicaraguan girl have any relevance to Mexican sentiments. Maybe its because they "look" the same.

It's not Mexico who had a politically charged media blackout of the game.


Considering the location and sport, lots of the fans in attendance probably -are- first-generation Mexican-Americans. Soccer is still a relatively marginal sport compared to the Big Three in the US, except in places like California where there are a tons of hispanic fans.

sean hanny

that was a great game, that last goal by Dos Santos was spectacular....but in the end, you said it, Tim:

One objective fact amid all this interpretation: Mexicans probably care about soccer far more than Americans and would be more inclined to go to the Rose Bowl to see the game.

this hits the nail on the head...this "reconquista" nonsense is just that, nonsense...most people are not aware of what they do, they are too overwhelmed by life or 2 subjective...

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This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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