By JOHN BOSCHINI
What’s the cost of cursing into a camera? Two games, as it turns out, even if your name is Wayne Rooney.
The English FA upheld Rooney’s two-game suspension after the Manchester United striker directed profanities at an on-field camera in United’s 4-2 defeat of West Ham on Saturday. Rooney had just completed a hat trick with a penalty kick to give the Red Devils a 3-2 lead when he looked directly into the camera and cursed twice.
Rooney will miss this weekend’s clash with Fulham and, more importantly, United’s FA Cup semifinal date with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. Rooney had called the initial decision “excessive” and appealed the decision to no avail. The 25-year-old Englishman apologized following the game.
Here are some more stories to help your Thursday along:
JAMES RECEIVES SHARE OF LIVERPOOL
Lebron James is getting a share of one of the most storied soccer franchises in the world. The reigning NBA MVP signed a long-term deal with Fenway Sports Management, which is owned by Liverpool chairman John Henry, and he will receive a minority share of the English club as part of the deal.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” James said. “Eighteen championships. I see myself trying to do the same things they have.”
FSM, who handles marketing for the Boston Red Sox, Roush Racing and Liverpool, will take over marketing for James.
RANGERS FACES ACTION OVER OFFENSIVE CHANTS
UEFA is set to discipline Rangers after fans of the Scottish powerhouse chanted sectarian songs at a recent Europa League match.
UEFA will meet later this month to decide a punishment, but the most likely outcome is a hefty fine and a requirement for Rangers to play its next European match in an empty stadium. Rangers has confirmed that they will fight any disciplinary action.
ZENIT FINED FOR RACIST FAN
The Russian Football Union has fined Zenit-St. Petersburg $10,000 after a fan offered Brazilian great and current Anzhi captain Roberto Carlos a banana at a recent match.
Russia, which will host the 2018 World Cup, does not have the cleanest history when it comes to racism in soccer. In 2008 Zenit was fined after its fans were responsible for throwing bananas and making monkey chants at Marseille's black players. The RFU did adopt a seven-point anti-racism plan in November to try to combat the issue.
OCTOPUS TABBED AS SUCCESSOR TO PAUL
Paul the Octopus may be gone, but it looks like a new eight-legged ocean dweller, Pavlik, is taking the reigns as the psychic octopus. Pavlike (The Slavic version of Paul) resides at Kiev’s Alushta Aquarium, the former home of Paul, and will be trained in the art of predicting soccer games. Pavlik is set to debut as a psychic pundit during the 2012 European Championships.
Do you think Rooney's ban is fair? What do you think of James owning a part of Liverpool? What's your take on the Rangers/Zenit fan situations? Think Pavlik will live up to Paul's high standard?
Share your thoughts below.