If there are more potentially violent, disagreeable sports fans on the face of the planet than those of Liverpool FC, I hope that they are on our side when aliens from “District 9″ invade. They will be our first line of defense. And we can pay them in beer! Anyway, radio host Steven Cohen isn’t laughing about it, after death threats from those British soccer fans caused him to end his popular, Los Angeles-based soccer show.
Cohen, host of World Soccer Daily, says that he and his stepdaughters have received death threats, some via the girls’ Facebook accounts, sent by Liverpool supporters. The All Red fans (a few of whom are pictured above) are angry because of remarks Cohen made concerning the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, where 96 Liverpool fans died when one end of Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, became overcrowded.
Is Cohen overreacting? Are other forces at work here? Hard to tell; but one thing that is clear is that Liverpool fans are not above the occasional death threat. Just ask Manchester United’s Alan Smith. After being hurt in a match against Liverpool in 2006, Smith was leaving the stadium in an ambulance when Liverpool fans surrounded it and tried to tip it over.
So attacking American Facebook pages would be no big deal. From the LA DAILY NEWS:
Since Cohen made his comments, his sponsors were bombarded with e-mails from Liverpool fans and he said he lost around eight advertisers. He also said he was the victim of anti-Semitic e-mails.
“This is the third-rail of football,” Cohen said. “I had apologized if I had hurt people’s feelings and opened old wounds.”But Cohen did not end the show until his stepdaughters were threatened via the social-networking site Facebook last week.
“You can’t ignore the anti-Semitism, and once they attacked my family, it’s over,” Cohen said. “I’ve contacted the police and FBI over this. I’ve feared for my family’s safety. Nothing is more important than that.”
The show was one of the top 10 downloaded sports podcasts on iTunes.
Additionally, Cohen’s contract was not renewed as the host of a phone-in show on the Fox Soccer Channel.
Relations between Cohen and many European soccer fans have been contentious for some time; fans across the pond claiming that the notorious Chelsea supporter shouldn’t be “hiding in Los Angeles” while taking potshots at European teams such as Liverpool. And from what I’ve heard, Cohen can be abrasive and sensationalistic. But Liverpool fans, are you familiar with talk sports radio? Much of it is like that.
Here in the U.S., we’re more confused over this than anything. Death threats? Involving soccer? We thought that only happened in Canada.
Cohen’s original comments, which started the fuss:
Cohen upset Liverpool fans when he said they should “share responsibility” in the blame.
“When people go to games without tickets and liquored up and 96 tragically die, at some point the fans have to share responsibility. You can’t just blame the police,” Cohen said. “I’m not saying they went with evil in their hearts to do it.”