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The Hejduk Incident

At the conclusion of the USA's 2-0 victory over Mexico on Wednesday night in the Columbus wind tunnel, Frankie Hejduk was heading toward the locker room when a Mexican team staff member slapped him in the face. Univision identified the assailant as assistant coach Paco Ramirez.

What precipitated it?

Here's what Frankie told the Insider:

"I was just trying to pump the crowd up [as he was leaving the field]. I was actually saying, 'F*&% yeah!' I think they thought I was saying, 'F*&% you.' It was a misunderstanding and I can see why they would be a little bit upset if they thought I was saying the other one, which I wasn't. At the end of the day, no one was hurt. There was a little love tap and that was it. I still have my face. No damage done. It was fun. That's just how emotional this game is and that's how passionate they are about their sport. It was none of their players -- I want to make that clear to everyone."

By Steve Goff  |  February 12, 2009; 1:15 AM ET
Categories:  Mexico , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: USA-Mexico Rewind


Frankie Heydude is my new favorite MNT player.

Posted by: notafembot | February 12, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

wow... right across the face..

Posted by: BurchFan4 | February 12, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

I assume Paco will be skipping the Honduras match, at least? Seriously, I know they were pissed to lose, but for a coach to slap a player? FIFA can't like that much.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 12, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Won't matter; and, as much as i'd love to see som edegree of official sanction against mexico for their consistently poor display of sportswomanship, i won't, and, so long as the u.s. is winning gracefully, that's OKAY with me!

Posted by: ch3k | February 12, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see the Mexican players were active in breaking this up, and that Hejduk handled it in a reasonable manner. I'm all for heated rivalry, but slapping people is ridiculous (and not in the Charlie Murphy "someone's got to go!" sense).

I also love the quote "I still have my face."

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 12, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

were the Mexican players active in breaking this up? I only saw the embedded clip, but it looked like they wanted to go after someone as well. It was the USSF official and the cops that pushed Ramirez (ese gordo) back.

I was pleased at the end of the game that some of the Mexican players, despite the disappointment, went and shook hands with US players. If they ever start respecting the US, they will be a lot harder to beat.

Posted by: troy6 | February 12, 2009 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Mexicans at it again no class sore losers.

Posted by: calito01 | February 12, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

There is no doubt, Frankie epitomizes cool. One only gets the briefest impression of how he handled the incident at the moment, but his quoted comments are class.

Posted by: glfrazier | February 12, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

These blow-ups by the Mexicans when they lose just make the wins so much sweeter... I love it.

Stay classy, El Tri!

Oh, and FMF... keep Sven around for a while won't ya? At least until the Azteca game.

Posted by: DemonJuice | February 12, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Can I get a LOL!!! Frankie reacted like, "Oh no no you didn't, not this s#!+ again!!!".

My my my, can't wait to hear what the other guy was going on about.

This is a much deserved US win. Until the Mexicans start to respect us they will never learn to be Jedi. (chuckle)

Wax on, wax off...

Posted by: elfelixg | February 12, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Ardido at its finest.

Posted by: Palin-McCain2012 | February 12, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Who is the poster that said others didn't love Hejduk?:)

Posted by: Reignking | February 12, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Dude is Da Man!

Posted by: Tolik | February 12, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Paco has one heck of a mullet! The fact that it was caught on video and broadcast everywhere should be punishment enough.

Posted by: realitycheck18 | February 12, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Gotta admit that Frankie is a totally class act, but still...umm, when do we declare war on Mexico?

I can understand why Paco was frustrated. His team should have been up 1-0 after a few minutes. It seemed like they lost any creativity or spark they had after that early save by Timmy. They looked a little dangerous in the last 10 minutes or so, but it wasn't enough.

Last night's Mexican team didn't appear to be the same extremely talented squad that just can't make itself respect a U.S. team no matter how hard it tries. Last's night El Tri looked like a completely uninterested group of footballers. It would not be a shock if this bunch fails to qualify for South Africa.

Posted by: loosek | February 12, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

F*&% you, Paco. That's right Paco...F*&% you! :)

Posted by: 9Nine9 | February 12, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Yeah - not sure the Peso is strong enough or the economies of the world healthy enough to fire a coach - even one who's helped take La Seleccion down a peg or two.

Besides - he's gotta stay on so the puppets can make fun of him.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 12, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

the dude abides.

love the voyueristic style of this video, too. and if not for goff's explanation, i would probably assume that this tiff involved some sort of dispute over who has the more awesome haircut.

Posted by: stairs | February 12, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Really? Slapping? Who does that anyway?

Univision is awesome. I love how there was a post game. ESPN's coverage was ok, but they have a lot of work to do.

Posted by: TCompton | February 12, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

typical for a second rate organization. pathetic...

I be he ends up as head coach after Sven is canned.

Posted by: bobfairchild1 | February 12, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Gotta love Hey Dude! And who were the posters who said that Hejduk didn't bring anything to the team and shouldn't be selected because he'll be washed out before 2010?

Posted by: billindmd | February 12, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Don't think Paco is coming back, nor the head coach. Mex needs to realize that they lost, and stop blaming it on everyone else, they should blame themselves.

Posted by: RM27 | February 12, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I have no idea how our guys always stay so cool. Well, actually, I do. They practically grow up being hacked to bits by Mexican and Central American players in hostile environments. Trial by fire I suppose.

Another great win for the US!

Posted by: Kev29 | February 12, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Frankie say Relax.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 12, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to take a few moments to review the several ways in which the mexican national team has been dirty in the past few years: this incident and the leg out, studs up challenge into the goal keeper last night; Oswaldo Sanchez trying to slide tackle a celebrating Eddie Johnson in the 2007 "friendly"; last year, de Nigris sliding studs out into Tim Howard after he'd already cleared the ball, then knocking him down again; Marquez's headbutt into Cobi Jones in 2002; et cetera...

Also flying batteries and bags of urine from the stands any time the US team plays in Mexico.

Posted by: mustid | February 12, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Frankie say Relax."

And I-270Exit 1 wins the thread. Well played, sir.

Posted by: amoffett1 | February 12, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

You know, I read this blog a lot and don't post often, but I just wanted to tell I-270Exit 1 "thank you" for consistently making me laugh. "Frankie say Relax" is f'ing hilarious.

Posted by: teamn | February 12, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

paco es una puta. The team played like it too they didn't want to win, using the excuse they had suspensions, injuries fact is they had no game plan US controlled the ball almost whole game.. pLus they get beat consistently then tackle from rear always. lazy team. Keeper choked on last shot

Posted by: williamjohnson1 | February 12, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Man Paco knew what Hejduk said, he just used the excuse to not understand him and take a swing at him...


Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | February 12, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

No, they will not hire Paco as head coach. They will hire the Gene Hackman!:-D

Posted by: bigwave | February 12, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to add my kudos to I-270. Best comedy on this blog this year.

Posted by: fischy | February 12, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

US dominated. But that slap was typical from the cheap-shot Mexican cowards. Mexican teams have always been complainers, and have always taken cheap shots on the better American teams. Player or not, it didn't surprise me. Even if it was a misunderstanding, Frankie had every right to absolutely explode on that dude and pound his face in.

Posted by: bharn | February 12, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It's just my evolutionary niche (Happy birthday Chuck)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 12, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Torres looked seriously disturbed when we got a glimpse of him at the end of the clip. It's gotta be a tough position for him to be in. Thankfully Frankie has a sense of humor and perspective. It shows that the US has gained the upper hand - why blow a gasket?

Posted by: Modibo | February 12, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My 15 yr old son couldn't stop laughing when that last goal went in. He is a keeper and said that he would have made that save 99 out of 100 times. What a choke by Sanchez...but it was good to rub salt into the wound

Posted by: gcbigdog | February 12, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that...I wonder how they explained it to Paco what Frankie actually said. Frankie should celebrate like crazy because he doesn't know if he will be on the field in 2010 and he played a great game in his home stadium. Frankie's the man!

Posted by: seanbheffernan | February 12, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the Mexican team shows that neither the players nor the staff have any class at all. Goff, did this jerkoff at least apologize? Will anything be done to punish him?

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | February 12, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I love it. We are so deep into their heads. They still can't believe we are better than they are. If they didn't play their home games in Azteca we would be winning the games there, too.

Here's the challenge to Mexico. Play us in Guadalajara. Three thousand feet further down but still at altitude with polluted air. We will kick your butts.

One more thing: nice voodoo dolls. Please bring more.

Posted by: bdwooton | February 12, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

My brother (gingo) lives in Mexico and teaches English Near Guad. We are both big World Cup fans and of course pull for the U.S.! He is very immersed in the culture and FUTBOL. He sent this to me after the game.


The Mexicans on Futbol Picante talk endlessly about the game. Top concern… we’ll still get to the next round.

They were really steamed about the whole affair. It is way more than just soccer for them.

For years, the only way to get revenge on the white devils was to beat em on the soccer pitch on usa soil. Now they don’t even have that.

For the Mexicans… they have made 10 trips in a row to the USA with ZERO wins and 8 losses.

I think they need a team shrink to try and get the hate out. They hate the boys so bad and want to win so much that they do stupid stuff like Rafa Marquez…. Going into the keeper with Tacos arriba… cleats up.

These are professional athletes and know where their body parts are at all times… especially the ones that have sharp, pointy knobbies attached. It was no accident that Rafa thrusted one of his 2 kicking parts at the moment of impact into the defensless keeper’s leg.

Last time he saw red was in the actavos de final in the 2002 Korea affair. Same idiot gets expelled …. Why … all that hate spews out on the field…. Notably these red cards only happen when the Mexicanos are down on the scoreboard. Not when they are winning. What does this mean?

It appears they are too concerned with the possiblilty of losing and then going back to Mexico where the whole country awaits them with open machetes.

Like the soldier who is scared of dying in battle. He goes out with the thought of “ do anything but get shot or blown up”.

Mexicans need to NOT CARE if they win or lose. Just go out and play. This would take away the frustration and some of the anger.

The only way for Mexico to beat the States is to raise up some players, none of whom have had cousins or other close of kin beaten at the border crossing with sticks or laughed at hard by immigration officials while ratcheting down the handcuffs.

Also…. The generation of Hugo Sanchezes ( a man with a big burr under his saddle)…. Needs to move away from the field.
They are the ones who keep the home “hate” fires burning. Just play soccer.

If the Mexicans would go out there before the game and shake hands with the boys and get to know them a little, they would realize they are not the enemy. Just another soccer team who also wants to win the game.

Now, the Mexicans can eat some comfort food while they relish the thought of beating up on the poor little central american concacaf teams to raise their rock bottom self-esteem.

But they need to remember… they were one single goal from being eliminated from the current round. One single GoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But they snuck through by a hair and are happy …. For now…..

Posted by: k5av | February 14, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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