photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
A day after making some unflattering comments about his new D.C. United teammates, Eddie Johnson issued them an apology.
Johnson met with teammates prior to D.C. United’s practice on Thursday to clear up and apologize for some of the comments he made in a story published on MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Johnson said Wednesday when explaining his sluggish start with D.C. United, whom he joined from the Sounders this offseason, that he did not have to run as much in Seattle because his teammates there were “better guys that had more quality on the ball.”
That caused a bit of stir among some fans and members of the media, and had the Designated Player feeling like he needed to clear the air to his D.C. brethren.
“It was very important for me to take the guys aside this morning and tell them, ‘Look, the words were misperceived,’” Johnson told the Washington Post. “I wasn’t trying to go at my teammates. It was more [about] adapting to this new style that I have to get used to. That is what has been challenging.”
“I wanted to give them peace of mind,” the 30-year-old forward added. “I don’t want them to think I am better than them. That’s always been the perception of my career: I’m a prima donna, I’m a bad teammate, I’m bad in the locker room. That’s not the case.”
Johnson reportedly met with D.C. head coach Ben Olsen on Thursday to talk about the matter. Olsen told the Washington Post on Thursday that his club has moved on from the incident and veteran centerback Jeff Parke echoed those sentiments.
“If he had come out and said, ‘These guys suck, I can’t play with them, I don’t know why I am here,’ that’s a different situation,” Parke told the Washington Post. “That is not what was said. I don’t mind it. He owns up to whatever was said and clears the air. We trust in him and believe in him.”
Johnson has gotten off to a tepid start this season while trying to make a case for a place on the U.S. Men’s National Team 23-man roster that will head to Brazil for the World Cup this summer. The veteran striker has one assist and no goals in seven starts for a D.C. team that looks much-improved from last year but is still in need of production from Johnson.
“I have never been the type of player to throw my teammates under the bus or talk down upon them,” said Johnson. “That is where the whole thing got blown out of proportion. I am happy to be here in D.C. I think the whole thing got misperceived. It’s a great group of guys in the locker room (and) I look forward to coming to work every day.”
What do you make of Johnson’s apology to his teammates? Confident that this episode will not serve as a distraction to the club? Do you see this hurting Johnson’s chances of making it onto the USMNT’s World Cup roster?
Share your thoughts below.