Tense times in Portland; but shutting out a local reporter?


Things are understandably tense and nerves are surely frayed in the Portland Timbers camp. Sure enough, Timbers striker Kris Boyd has taken the unusual step of shutting out a beat writer who regularly covers the team.

Things like this don’t happen very often in Major League Soccer. They shouldn’t ever happen, but we are dealing with human beings, who are fallen and imperfect, as we know.

But here’s the thing that always gets me craning my head the way my dog does when he can’t understand something:

How can a guy like Boyd, weaned in the footy-loving UK, not take the press heat here? And by “heat,” what happens on our shores is more like the softly warming sun of an early spring afternoon. Where he was born and raised, “heat” is more of the piping hot coffee variety, scorching levels that can sear the skin and test the human capacity for tolerance.

“Heat?” From The Oregonian? (No offense, of course.) I mean, has this guy read The Sun? Gazzetta dello Sport? L’Équipe?

I once casually asked Jurgen Klinsmann about media criticism that comes with the U.S. national team job. He practically laughed at me, quickly pointing to his playing days in London and the tendency of some European media to more or less make things up.

Dealing with media is just part of a professional athlete’s job, whether they like it or not. Over here, it’s rarely a difficult part – unless the players, coaches and officials make it so.