Despite the best efforts of MLS, it seems that soccer still takes a back seat in the sports consciousness of your average American fan. So it’s a bit strange to see that a huge furor among footie fans has been caused by comments from an L.A.-based radio host.
Steven Cohen is the British-born host of “World Soccer Daily”, a show on Sirius/XM satellite radio that’s one of the few, if not only, soccer-specific programs on radio. On a recent broadcast, Cohen discussed the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death by too many fans packing the stadium in Sheffield. And based on his comments about the tragedy, many Liverpool supporters want to see Steven silenced - permanently.
Scott Wolf of the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS explains what it was that Steven had said that has so many Liverpool supporters livid - that the fans should share some blame for the tragedy:
“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. Liverpool brought the same number of fans as the year before (to Hillsborough) even though they were at the smaller end of the stadium this time. I have expressed an opinion that there was a shared responsibility.”
As such, Cohen has received more than 3,500 emails about his comments, not many of them too flattering. He has had to cancel appearances at restaurants televising games, lost some advertisers from his radio show, and worse yet, “received hundreds of death threats, threats to kidnap his fiancee’s children and threats to burn down his house.”
Steven wonders if his opinion is really worth committing murder & arson:
“You almost wonder what they are protesting so much?” Cohen said. “Why do they care so much about what some nebbish in California in a soccer wasteland thinks? This is terror tactics from one club’s fans that are hypersensitive.”
“I’ve seen the Taliban less defensive,” Cohen said. “If this was being done in Afghanistan or Pakistan, we’d call these people terrorists. A lot of them are little cowards hiding behind their computers.“
But many Liverpool fans stand by their seething anger. Mel Abisher, who represents the North American branches of the English soccer club, compares Cohen’s comments to a hypothetical disaster at the L.A. Coliseum:
“Imagine USC (football) supporters going to a game, being told to go down a tunnel into a packed, standing-room only area. And due to the crush, 96 USC supporters died. One might ask one self, why those who went in should ’share responsibility’ in the deaths of their fellow supporters because basically that is Stevens claim.”