Fan pays for Beckham confrontation with lifetime ban
Updated 21m ago
By Beau Dure, USA TODAY
Some fans have taken issue with David Beckham's presence with the L.A. Galaxy.
By Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Galaxy fan who left the stands to confront David Beckham on Sunday faces a lifetime ban from all Home Depot Center events.
The multisport facility's policy is to charge anyone who enters the field with trespassing and ban that person from returning to the venue, "no matter the circumstance," says Home Depot Center communications director Alison Groendal Salcedo.
If that person returns for any event, he or she could be arrested again for trespassing.
The ban is imposed by the facility, not the Galaxy.
The incident took place at halftime of the Galaxy's exhibition against Italy's AC Milan, for which Beckham played earlier this year on loan. The Riot Squad, a Galaxy supporters group, taunted Beckham during the first half with banners and chants.
Beckham approached the Riot Squad's corner seating area before leaving the field for halftime and made gestures, pointing as if to urge someone to come down to the field. A fan, identified by Yahoo Sports and The New York Times as independent film company employee Josh Paige, leaped from the stands and was subdued by security.
From videos of the incident, Beckham appeared to try to leap over the advertising dasher boards on the field but was held back. He extended a hand as if to shake hands and claimed later that was his intent. Paige could not be reached to comment.
"Josh like everyone else in the Riot Squad is a very intelligent individual who recognizes he made a very poor decision," Riot Squad member Eddie Garcia said by e-mail. "He is entirely responsible for his actions. However, that being said, it only accounts for 50%, the other 50% coming from a 'professional.' (Beckham) also needs to be held accountable for his part."
Garcia said the Riot Squad, which is loosely organized, typically fills two to four sections of the corner seating with 300-400 fans. The group's message board has roughly 5,000 registrants, he said.
Salcedo wouldn't speculate on what would happen if Beckham appealed on Paige's behalf. "That is not a decision David is involved with, so you will have to speak to the club and Home Depot Center," Beckham publicist Simon Oliveira said by e-mail. "That is their policy and not ours."
Beckham has not been disciplined for approaching the fans.
Some of Beckham's Galaxy teammates questioned his leadership and his commitment to the Major League Soccer team in The Beckham Experiment, a recently published book by Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl.
"David felt he was received well by the majority of L.A. Galaxy fans, and he was thankful for their support," Oliveira said. "For the smaller vocal minority he understands they have their views, but he also hopes they appreciate he had to play in Europe during his holiday and first few months of the MLS season to improve his chances of playing for his country. He will continue to put in hard work on and off the pitch to help contribute towards the team. The results have been encouraging so far." Fan pays for Beckham confrontation with lifetime ban - USATODAY.com