Brian Ching is a well-respected elder statesman in the MLS. He's played for some very great teams in his career, scored over 100 goals in total and has featured for the United States Men's National team 45 times (scoring 11 goals in those appearances).
He's also an intelligent man, an antithesis to the stereotype of the "dumb" athlete; his show "Kicking it with Brian Ching" was a very informative segment and offered the audience a guide into the mind of a professional player and well-educated man. He's the face of the Houston Dynamo team and, in some ways, MLS, so his word and opinion carries weight in the league.
Despite all of this, Brian (I think we're on a first name basis now), like all of us, is not without fault. He has made his share of mistakes, slip-ups and judgment errors. In 2009, after a game against the Seattle Sounders, he tweeted "Ref in Seattle just cheated the dynamo. What a joke. Not even close. Ref is a cheat." He was of course fined for the tweet.
After the Revs' 2-0 victory against the Dynamo last Saturday, Brian (We're not on a nickname basis yet, sadly) attacked the Revs players' time-wasting tactics as time expired, saying: "I think teams have figured out that they can come in here and get away with the theatrics..." He continued with: "They're diving on the ground when they are not hurt. [Juan] Agudelo grabbed his face when I ran into him."
You might think that the "attacks" were done, but he inexplicably suggested that somehow these tactics were contradictory to the notion of manhood, revealing that he told the Revs players to "be men" and suggested that the veterans on The Revolution teach the younger players "how to be men".
There is a sweet irony to Brian's frustration (I want to call him Chingy, but that seems to be taken), actually: Back in 2007, Jesse Marsch - who you may remember was Bob Bradley's assistant on the USMNT staff back in 2010, the same staff that decided to leave Brian Ching off the roster for the World Cup - wrote in a blog post that was essentially against the art of diving. "I'm not sure if Carlos Ruiz or Brian Ching will read this blog," he said. "Or if we can forward this article to every Brazilian that comes to play in America, but I am starting a "no diving" campaign."
How fantastic is that? This is a classic case of "he without sin cast the first stone" or if you're more into modernity, stones and glass houses.
Besides the fact that Marsch's and Ching's revolution (pun intended) against diving in football is futile - it's something that's unfortunately ingrained in the game - and probably fell on deaf ears, it's very hilarious that Brian, for all of his numerous dives, never once in a postgame conference questioned his own manhood or even went to a veteran player back in 2007 to ask for assistance on being a man.
Yet, as soon as the same tactics cost his team, he resorts to the old notion that runs deep in the social belief in the United States about soccer: that because players go down easily, they aren't men.
This is in no way defending diving or time-wasting; this is just here to highlight how contradictory and stupid Brian's statements were. It was unneeded, misguided and generally made out of frustration and should have been quickly followed with an apology. Maybe we shouldn't blame Brian for falling victim to the fundamental attribution error that plagues all humanity; I'm sure he has some social/external/situational excuse for his own diving.
We could not blame Brian, but because of his status, his word and opinion are highly regarded in the MLS community, and he needs to be more careful of his choice of words. So unless my dear friend B-Rian (cool nickname? No? Just me then?) takes up the position as Judge of "Man" and charts out the requirement for manhood (first applying it to himself, of course), he should really be more careful about his glass house and the insinuations about other players' manhood.