February 2010

Davies: Taking The Kid Gloves Off

(Photo courtesy of Tifosi)

During the halftime coverage of the US/El Salvador match, Rob Stone and John Harkes made several points about the injured Yanks that are currently on the mend. Hopefully Ricardo Clark, Clint Dempsey, Gooch, and The Maestro are all making an excellent recovery as these four are without question “on the plane” for the trip to South Africa come June. However, if you look at the previous list, there is one name that some of you may have noticed is missing: Charlie Davies aka “Chuck D” as he is affectionately referred to at The Yanks Are Coming office. So why have I left Chuck D off the list? Simple, he should in no way be considered just another player making it back to match fitness after a minor knock or injury. This proclamation on my part has nothing to do with Davies’ progress in rehab or the idea that he still has an outside shot of making it back to the squad before this summer. Davies does not make this list because he did not pick up an injury while playing “the beautiful game.” Rather, he got hurt by being an irresponsible child whose actions resonate an undeniable sense of immaturity. Let’s quickly go over the facts. The night of the horrific car accident, Davies was subject to a team curfew in order to begin preparations for the next qualifying match against Costa Rica. Davies decided to

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in the company of old friends. To make matters worse, the group thought it was an excellent idea to go speeding on the highway late into the night at a time in which only drunks and truck drivers occupy the road. But the single most important part of this whole incident isn’t even about Davies. Ashley Roberta, a 22-year-old University of Maryland student lost her life that night. Since the accident fans and the media alike seem to be focusing on Davies’ recovery, and the increasing likelihood of his return to form in time for the World Cup. Yet, no one seems to be asking the question that boggles my mind to this day. Just what the (insert expletive here) were you thinking, Chuck? Imagine the coverage this whole incident would have received if Davies was a future or current star in any other major American sport. If Davies had been a college football player, there would have been incessant coverage of his “character flaws” and “maturity issues” before the NFL draft. If Davies had been NFL star, the story would have received at least the attention of the Donte Stallworth case. Hell, he could have been a baseball player for all I care. Just because Davies does not play one of the premier sports in America does not mean that his actions deserve a free pass from the media, sports

fans, or anyone in general. Sure, one may able to chalk up the entire incident to youth and hubris. After a stellar showing at the Confederations Cup, perhaps Davies thought it was time to party and put hard work on the back burner for a hot second. However, I think it’s much more than that. Simply put, Davies’ actions speak to the general lack of discipline on Bradley’s team. The reason Davies thought it was OK to break curfew and put himself in a dangerous situation stems from the lack of accountability demanded by the head coach. And it goes beyond just Chuck D. Michael Bradley’s whining and complete lack of respect for authority has been well documented at the national team level, as well as with his club in Germany. Still, he plays every minute in which he is available, even after picking up idiotic red cards. This lack of discipline is the same reason why Jimmy Conrad thinks he can simply shrug off a red card he picked up in the first 10 minutes of an important evaluation game for the entire squad. Bob, Charlie Davies is your chance to make a statement. You, sir, are the king of the castle. Davies needs to answer some serious questions before he is allowed the opportunity to compete for a spot on the World Cup squad. Simply putting him on the plane sends a message to this team, as well as the future squads that the coaches authority means nothing because there are no serious consequences. How’s that for team management? It may be easy to misinterpret my words as nothing more than the musings of a Chuck D hater. But that is just not the case. Truthfully, I want nothing more for Charlie Davies to realize his potential and have a long successful career. This is America. Hate it or love it, we are as much the home of the second chance as we are baseball or apple pie. In our country, it’s what one does with that second chance that truly counts. If there is any good to come out of tragedy, Davies’ relentless

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dedication to rehab and unwavering resolve speaks of a man who has put past his immaturities to understand the fragility of life. Keep on keepin’ on, Charlie. Puck is a staff writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at puck@yanksarecoming.com.


  • Fair enough bringing up Charlie’s mistake and his need to answer for it.

    Wide of the mark otherwise.

  • Brett

    Agree on most counts, especially the completely unnecessary cards. Seems to be a hallmark of the US midfield (looking at you, Rico Clark). Needs to be addressed before we bomb out of the World Cup because of stupid mistakes.

  • Neil W. Blackmon

    Not certain how it’s “wide of the mark” otherwise when the tenor of the column is merely a suggestion that while Davies recovery is remarkable, the tragedy of the evening should not be forgotten by the media. I don’t think, as Davies comeback resolve demonstrates– that he will ever forget the tragedy and his mistakes.

    As for Bradley utilizing Davies to make a statement, I don’t know. That’t the opinion of the writer– one that may be “wide of the mark” of your opinion but not “wide” of any set mark. That’s just the nature of an opinion piece.

  • Dan

    Ives had a piece for ESPN a couple weeks ago with extensive quotes from Davies (or maybe I’m remembering this from the extra quotes on his blog) where Charlie mentioned that since the accident he’s become closer with God. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he has a much more sober outlook on life since the accident. It’s hard to imagine that he’s driving himself through rigorous, painful rehab out of a sheer love of fame and soccer. I really think that just as Charlie has had to reform his body, he’s had to reform his character, as well. Then again, who knows? It’s hard to make these kinds of judgments without sitting down with the guy and hearing from him yourself.

    And I have to think that Coach Bradley would have questioned Charlie very hard about the events that transpired that night. Whatever you think of his tactics, the man is not ignorant when it comes to the relationships he has with his players.

    There are some good points in the post above about media portrayals of Charlie’s recovery, but these are counterbalanced by some gross generalizations about the character and sense of responsibility of Charlie Davies and Coach Bradley, each.

  • Alot of Davies’ tweets say “God Bless” in them. I get the feeling he realized how lucky he is to be alive, and is very thankful for that. God gave him another chance and he’s chomping at the bits to make the most of it. Thats why I’m pulling for him, and want to see him in South Africa.

  • Kasey

    You can also say that because of the lack of media attention to the game in our country, there aren’t a lot of reporters asking Bob these questions about how Davies has been disciplined or will be disciplined. I think it’s okay to speculate that after Davies had enough mental recuperation, that Bob gave him a word or two about how important the rules he set on the team he governs are. Isn’t that all he can really do? There aren’t any chances to bench him or deny him a call up between his full recovery day and the WC given the fact that as a coach, if you’re going to call him in, you can’t risk benching him during the send off series.

    Now with the Michael Bradley case, I would’ve liked to see Michael ride the pine for the U.S. after his red cards and after his bust up with his club coach.

    Having said this, I think our squad (our WC squad) is in a good position and I don’t see why there are so many people out there, fans and press alike, that seem to continue to attach themselves to the few negatives that surround our squad.

  • Daniel Seco

    Great points, Kasey. You have the right attitude about the squad. MB will never ride the pine, though.

  • Bryan

    USSF has already stated that he was out with the OKAY from the team because he was NOT going to play. Second, the mom of the girl who died said they did NOT know Davies and that they were working at the bar Davies was attending. Third, Davies did not drive. Fourthly, you have NO idea how fast they were going, and considering the speed limit on the MAJOR HIGHWAY they were on is 55, it isn’t so weird to see the car that messed up. Fifthly, more than drunk drivers and truck drivers use that MAIN HIGHWAY. Sixth, we don’t even know if she WAS drunk.

    Having said all of that, I agree that the team should never have allowed him to go out just because he was not going to be in the line up. Every player should be at the hotel the night before and there should be better security. It was never the time or the place to do ANYTHING other than sleep and prepare for the game.

  • Puck

    I want to clarify a few points. FIRST, the fact that Davies did not know Ms Roberta before that evening is completely irrelevant, they obviously got to know each other well enough for her to hang out after work. SECOND, just because Chuck D did not drive does not make him an less of an idiot. Getting in a car with a drunk driver its still a bonehead move, and a lame justification. He may not have gotten a DWI but his injuries are the consequence. THIRD, reports from investigators have shown that the evidence left at the accident site (skid marks, damage to the guard rail, etc) indicate the the car was most definitely speeding, and the speed limit was 40mph where they crashed, not 55. Also, police have requested access to the airbag sensors and GPS unit to calculate just how fast the car was traveling. FOURTH, I was clearly making a hyperbolic statement about drunks and truck drivers for effect. FIFTH, interviews with witnesses that saw the group out earlier in the evening, confirm the group was absolutely drinking, and appeared intoxicated. Both Davies and the driver have told authorities that all three had been drinking heavily that evening. Please see The Washington Post coverage of the story for more details.

  • Bryan

    Fair enough, and I just want to clarify I am not disagreeing with the overall theme of this article, just a few points that were presented as “fact” that aren’t. One of which was, “Davies decided to break the rules and instead enjoy more than a few adult beverages in the company of old friends.”

    It is irrelevant, i agree. But you stated that it was a fact that they were old friends…when they weren’t. So it made it relevant, only because it was stated they knew each other. He also, apparently, had permission to be out past curfew…granted, not to drink at a bar, I’m sure.

    Sure, I’m being a little ridiculous by stating we don’t know if she was drunk or if they were speeding. We can ASSUME both are true. But again, to claim it as fact is not accurate either.

    Again, I do agree that it was a terrible decision by him and I agree with the overall theme of the article.

  • Puck

    Fair Enough.