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Beckham fined $1,000 by MLS for gestures to fans

Galaxy star punished for taunting fans in Sunday's game against AC Milan.

July 25, 2009|Grahame L. Jones

David Beckham was fined the equivalent of 81 minutes in salary Friday by Major League Soccer for his actions in confronting a group of Galaxy fans who were taunting him last Sunday.

What MLS actually fined the English midfielder was $1,000, but since Beckham earns $6.5 million a year in salary from the Galaxy, that means it will take him approximately an hour and a half to earn the amount.

Don Garber, the league's commissioner, did not take it quite that lightly, but the fine is largely a token punishment.

"We support our players interacting with fans, whether it is at clinics, charity events or by high-fiving their supporters in the stands while celebrating a goal," Garber said in a statement released by the league.

"However, our players should never engage in conduct that can be interpreted as encouraging fans to come out of the stands and onto the field, regardless of the reason."

At halftime of the Galaxy's Sunday friendly game against AC Milan at the Home Depot Center, Beckham confronted members of the Riot Squad, a Galaxy support group, who had been booing and insulting him during the match.

At one point, Beckham pointed at one fan and made gestures signaling the fan to come down out of the crowd. When he did, the fan was taken into custody, while Beckham reached across an advertising board as if to shake his hand.

In a statement Thursday, the Riot Squad said: "Had David responded differently on Sunday, the booing and the chanting probably would have ended at halftime. We don't believe questioning Beckham's commitment to our team is over the line, but it's clear that David feels otherwise."

The Galaxy's next "home" game is against FC Barcelona at the Rose Bowl on Aug. 1, when Garber will be there to view the fans' response.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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