Saturday, October 24, 2009

National Disinterest in Injured U.S. Striker?

Charie Davies, who had been a regular in the United States First XI for most of this year, was nearly killed in a one-car accident earlier this month.

Three people were in the vehicle, which crashed at 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 13 ... and one of the people in the car died.

The incident is covered in this story.

What is interesting about this event ... is how little coverage and attention it has gotten since. Which may tell us quite a bit about the status of soccer in the United States.

To my knowledge, this story has not moved much further along, in the subsequent 11 days, aside from one update about Davies being moved out of intensive care, and how he still faces surgery on his elbow and, perhaps face.

A few soccer fans in the U.S. have noticed that some huge questions in the affair remain unanswered, to my knowledge.

-- Who was driving?

--Were tests run for alcohol or drugs?

--Could criminal charges be lodged?

--What was Charlie Davies doing in a car on a major road at 3:15 a.m. -- breaking curfew barely 36 hours before the U.S. was scheduled to play a World Cup qualifying match?

It has been suggested that this news blackout would not have survived if the athlete in question had been an American football star. Or basketball player. Or a star in one of the other major U.S. sports, such as baseball.

Journalists can be pretty successful in wheedling information from authorities, if they put their minds to it. If their editors care.

Apparently, there isn't much will-power here to find out what happened.

It also makes me wonder if, say, a starting forward on a major European or South American side had been almost killed in an early morning wreck, whether fans in that European or South American country would still be guessing at what happened almost two weeks later?

I think not.

My sense is that this story would remain shrouded in mystery only in a few major (or quasi-major) soccer countries -- and the U.S. is one of them. If not the only one.

The U.S. cares about soccer ... it cares about the World Cup, and its team is good enough to qualify for it. But the sport still is not so big that getting to the bottom of what happened to one of its prominent player is Job 1 for anyone.

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