Enjoy NYC while you can, Rafa

Venturing into foreign territory for a moment: MLS. After ingesting the fall-out from Rafa Marquez' lockeroom tirade, I noticed a couple of things. The obvious thing is that Rafa was dead wrong to criticize his teammates, individually or collectively. Of course, this is punctuated by the fact that by all accounts, Rafa has been half-assing it for Red Bulls this year (and that is being polite).

Criticize all you want, Rafa, but you are a top-5 player in the league in terms of salary, so understand that you are held to higher standard, whether you like it or not. If you want to rip your teammates a new one, go right ahead. Just do it in private, not in front of cameras and microphones. On the other hand, his actions aren't really that surprising because it isn't the first time this has happened. During the 2006 World Cup, Rafa's teammates mentioned that he was continually frustrated by their level of play compared to his. Some took it to heart and aimed to get better, like Mario Mendez. He went out of his comfort zone to try his luck in Argentina. Others, not so much.

Both are examples of one of Rafa's most glaring weaknesses. He is an uncomfortable leader. Sure, as a defender at Barcelona, there were long spells when his named was mentioned among the best defenders in the world. But at Barça, he was rarely in a leadership position, he was just one of the guys.

He rarely embraced the leadership role that was thrust upon him on the Tri. Fans of Mexico unfortunately grew accustomed to seeing him lose his cool: stupid red cards, careless fouls, etc. Skippers are forgiven for the occasional indiscretion, just like any other player. But Rafa's mental gaffe's have always been there, tainting an otherwise brilliant career. It is a career that may have to come to an end far away from the media capital of the world.

It was interesting, though, that a few days after Marquez' comments, a high profile NFL quarterback did not waste any time in throwing his teammates under the bus during a national television interview right after his game. Yet few, if any, have considered that rant anything but acceptable. Is it because that particular QB's team won the game while Rafa did not? Or was it because no one questions the QB's effort, while questionable would be about the nicest thing anyone would say about Rafa's effort this year?