Reports: Brooks benched over large back tattoo

JohnAnthonyBrooksHerthaBerlin2 (DPA)


John Brooks was a puzzling omission from Hertha Berlin’s game-day roster this past weekend, but now we might know why he was not in uniform.

Brooks was not made part of Berlin’s 18-man roster for the 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen this past Sunday because of a large back tattoo he recently got done, according to multiple reports from Germany. The skin on which the tattoo was done on is still healing and has reportedly led to Brooks being limited in training sessions, something that drew the ire of Leverkusen head coach Jos Luhukay.

“I don’t have any understanding for that,” Luhukay told Berliner Morgenpost. “The tattoo could lead to an inflammation, and, naturally, that is not good.”

The 21-year-old centerback has been in and out Hertha Berlin’s lineup this season mostly due to form and injuries. Brooks has 10 starts this season in 12 appearances and one goal. There is no word currently on if he will be available for the 10th-placed club’s road trip to FC Augsburg this Saturday.

He is currently on the fringes of the U.S. Men’s National Team, but is surely hoping to earn a call-up to the preliminary World Cup camp that Jurgen Klinsmann will hold next month in the United States before deciding on which 23 players to take to Brazil this summer. Brooks is not yet cap-tied.

Centerback is a position on the U.S. that is still up for grabs. With Omar Gonzalez struggling as of late, Matt Besler appears to be the only central defender to have locked down a starting spot. Gonzalez will look to put his stamp on a starting role ahead of the World Cup, but is facing competition from the likes of Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco and more.


What do you make of Brooks’ reported benching over a large back tattoo? Should he be called into the preliminary World Cup camp? What are his chances of being in Brazil this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

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102 Responses to Reports: Brooks benched over large back tattoo

  1. Jeff Carter says:

    Assuming these are the facts, that is just ridiculously stupid of Brooks. Poor decision making, you reap what you sow.

    • Increase0 says:

      Timmy Howard has like 11 billion tattoos. I can’t imagine he didn’t get some of them in season but still…

      He musts have gotten a huge one done in one sitting or something… otherwise wouldn’t he be able to play through it. Or just like wait for 4 weeks till the seasons over.

      • Jacob says:

        Your right he does I’m sure but I’m sure he was responsible and got them offseason not towards the end of the season. Tattoo isn’t the reason it’s the timing.

    • Alex H says:

      And now we know why Omar is still the guy at CB.

    • capitan macpatton says:

      intelligence is not strong with this one. he not only played terrible against Ukraine but he negatively influenced everybody else’s game that day as well.

      • This guy is an idiot , not only he is a bad player , but on top of that , by having tattoos he wants to be recognize some more. I hope JK , Will not call this guy . In the game against Ukraine he showed how bad he is .

    • Same thing happens here in America , most of these folks from the middle east , even those born here , don’t consider themselves Americans, they are in body and soul , citizens of wherever country they are from . Naturalization for most of them is just a matter of convenience .

  2. HeHan says:

    Isn’t this something you wait for off season to get done?

    But seriously guys, I bet he got a huge butterfly tramp stamp. It probably looks awesome.

  3. blokhin says:

    like they say in Eastern Europe, some people are smart, others are soccer players

  4. MLSfan says:

    He couldn’t leave getting the tattoo for the offseason??

    • TheFrenchOne says:

      when you’re drunk in you walk up to an ink shop at 2 a.m., your judgment is not the sharpest … what an idiot

      • NC Jeff says:

        “Your judgement is not the sharpest (when you’re drunk and walk into an ink shop at 2am).” Your judgement is not the sharpest if you’re getting yourself drunk at 2am.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      I did some pretty dumb stuff when I was 21 too so I can somewhat relate.

      But, on the flip side, I was not a professional making millions (hundreds of thousands or whatever he makes) at my job at the time.

  5. malkin says:

    Franco – time for a second cup of coffee, buddy…

    “tattoo he recently gone done,”

    “Leverkusen head coach Jos Luhukay.”

  6. Ben C. says:

    If the tattoo is affecting his training and play because it is causing physical limitations, that is not a race problem, that is a problem problem. Also, there are tons of players of all races and ethnicities in all sports that are tatted up to the max. I kind of see your point, but I don’t think it applies here.

    • James says:

      Yea, I agree. It doesn’t sound like the manager cares about the tattoo itself, just that it has needlessly interfered with training.

  7. biff says:

    Here is a link to a photo. He has a tattoo of Berlin on his left elbow and a tattoo of the great State of Illinois on the left part of his back. And in those photos, taken in early April, you can see that the skin is inflamed. To see the tatoos, you gotta click on the photo of Brooks and then click for the second photo.

    link to

  8. Reboot says:

    Pretty sure he was already benched.. but whatever.

    • Increase0 says:

      He played the last game. Hertha is safe nothing to play for. It’s good time to get youngins on the field.

  9. 12L says:

    can we see the Legendary Tattoo that derailed his career

    btw who is taller, Gooch or Brooks? Gooch is 6’4/6’5 I think

  10. 12L says:

    Well race relations in Germany or Europe is pretty decent on the surface.

    These guys have Black American fathers and German moms so their lives couldn’t have been so bad. Now imagine if they had poor African fathers, it would be rougher. Then again being children of US servicemen during Iraq war may have been rough.

    Loads of 3rd generation Turkish-Germans still have problems. But more about adapting to German culture and life.

    • Michael says:

      If “loads” of Turkish-Germans “still have problems,” I’d argue that race relations aren’t really “decent.”

    • Michael says:

      Also, “adapting to x culture” is really just a “dog whistle” term that usually means “x person of color’s problem is he/she is not white” or “not white ‘enough.'”

      • Increase0 says:

        Er, yes and no. Germany is a country where people don’t litter and use crosswalks. If you come from a country that doesn’t even have them on most streets, you get issues.

        The Turkish situation is bad though. Neither side wants to give in. Germany didn’t give the Turks citizenship and the Turks don’t really want to become German.

      • Horsewhistle says:

        It’s not a color thing,
        It’s a nationalism thing.

      • Steven says:

        The US has never dealt with a large and uneducated Muslim immigrant population.

        And from my understanding, German-Turks are far less likely to spend time in prison than blacks in the US.

  11. argrht says:

    he figured getting this tatt would impress JK and give him a spot for Brazil

    i don’t see why everyone is so negative

  12. Pete says:

    Well, the bright side is that know one will ever question how “American” he is again. Missing time at work for tattoo healing sounds just like the actions of a 21 year old born and raised in U.S. soil.

  13. EQeki says:

    Thats lame

  14. Horsewhistle says:

    CamRahn, not to be idiosyncratic, but here is another comment about race in Europe. Caucasian is not whiteness as used and racially constructed in the US. It is most often used of the Russian race, whose majority is Caucasian originating from the caucus region. Unless Brooks’ mother is an ethnic minority, her race is German, and associates as being Germanic ethnicity.
    This is similar for Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Irish, Prussian, Flemish,Slavic, etc. Since race and ethnicity is more defined in Europe there are more sensitivities and one ethnic identity such as Caucasian does not define whiteness. Which is a color and not a race or ethnicity. This is not racism, it is a more complex manner developed as nation states were defined by ethnicities, unlike the US which is formed by migrants and often uses color to classify race.

  15. chuck says:

    This is kinda… unprofessional isn’t it? How would JK be about that? National coaches take these things seriously. Not cause of that tat, of course, but it says something about the player’s commitment to the team.

    I remember an anecdote from 1994. A Mexican player called Luis Valdez showed up before the opening game with a mohawk, where he was contemplated as a starter. Since he had never never done anything like this before, this led the coach to believe he wasn’t in the right mind state, perhaps either overwhelmed, not taking it seriously enough or whatever. He removed him at half time and never played in the cup again.

  16. bryan says:


    this kid needs to grow up. i’m all for tattoos, but do it at a time when it won’t jeopardize your playing time…

  17. Zocklo says:

    BTW….what’s the word on Jose Villarreal? is he getting regular playing time at any level?

    • chuck says:

      No, it’s actually terrible. They sent him to the reserves who play in the second league, where he only played 5 minutes and the regular season is finished without them going to the playoffs.

  18. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    He is young. He will learn.

  19. bryan says:

    looking at the photo Biff linked to, it’s clear that the tattoos are on his arms, not his back….

    unless his back has an elbow growing out of it (referring to the Illinois tattoo).

  20. euroman says:

    This has nothing to do with a tattoo but everything to do with being unprofessional. This isn’t the first time his manager has called him out for being unprofessional. Hopefully he gets 4 years to think about missing the WC.

  21. Horsewhistle says:

    I have seen something similar to this type of culture but only in the metropolitan cities. There are interesting cultural responses to the homogenous profile of the country in and out of the cities.
    Similar to 12Ls comment, from a class perspective of ethnic minorities, African-Americans have are a higher social class than African immigrants.
    Per earlier comments, I don’t know if I can say the race relations are decent, its different. Europe has a lot of nationalism and some sentiments reflect that you are part of the heritage or a minority/immigrant.

    • chuck says:

      I’d say race relations are more peaceful but more marked. And also almost completely tied to the economic/education status.

      People mix in a working environment but not really in the social one. Much more marked than in the US because most immigrants, unlike in America are closer to their first-hand culture (italian-americans, mexican-americans have a hybrid culture, for example).

  22. john.q says:

    lucky enough to see Brooks play live 2 weeks ago. the crowd had a “BBBBRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKS” chant almost every time he touched the ball. hope the benching is temporary.

  23. AcidBurn says:

    Guess we add JAB into the “10 cent head” group. Current members include Brek Shea.

  24. Jacknut says:

    2 years ago, I would have laughed at your comment. Then I had a German au pair…. All I can say “yep,” based on the behavior of her and her friends. At least she had good taste in men … polite, good jobs, etc. Some of the other au pairs … not so much.

    I don’t know what this has to do with Brooks or the other “Ger’Murcans”…

    • Horsewhistle says:

      Its a culture that we on the outside know little about. It has everything to do with Ger-mericans, or at least in our contradictory attempts to generalize but deconstruct in order to understand.

    • smelly says:

      Could it be that expuut after his meltdown a few weeks ago [] is still lurking and posting under multiple user names.threads. Certainly smells like a lot of expuut on this thread. He’s easy to spot and seems he has lost control again. As usual provocative/silly comments playing both sides of an issue with the goal of trying to stir things up.

  25. Jacknut says:

    Quick question: Have any “Ger-Mericans” ever suited up for Germany?

  26. KingGoogleyEye says:

    I think the tattoo says, in 96 pt font: “Not Yet Cap-tied”

    That statement may be true for a long time….

  27. Daniel says:

    I think it is a very American habit to turn everything into a race issue.

    • John says:

      seriously, people come up with some weird threoies

    • call me henry says:

      maybe originally but Europe has problems with immigration and integration

      in the past say the 70’s they were just “Turks or Africans or Arabs or Muslims”

      and then over the past decade their kids n grandkids are wanting more benefits and of course citizenship, but they don’t feel like they are German or French or Dutch or Swedish. Part of that is because they themselves don’t want to be “integrated”. Interesting subject

      • Same thing happens here in America , most of these folks from the middle east , even those born here , don’t consider themselves Americans they are in body and soul , citizens of wherever country they are from . Naturalization for most of them is just a matter of convenience .

  28. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Maybe he wanted it done before the World Cup in order to show it off in Brazil. Either way, not very bright, and reason enough not to take him to Brazil.

  29. Daniel says:

    Why do you assume that the German women didn`t have a good reason to get divorced and that the end of the relationships were the German women`s fault and that the men only served as a means in order to get a biracial child?

    ” I even knew a latino guy who married a German lady… who kicked him out soon after the child was born.”

    Have you asked the German woman for her side of the story? Maybe she had a good reason to kick him out.

    • chuck says:

      I knew her and the exact reason was that. He was a nuisance and a burden since she just wanted the kid. I never said these women were right or wrong, just pointing out a behavior I observed as a theorethical root of most German-born American soccer players are mixed race. I also said each case was probably distinct but in generalization and experience this seemed to be it.

      Chill out please, there is no ill will in the comment.

      • Same thing happens here in America , most of these folks from the middle east , even those born here , don’t consider themselves Americans they are in body and soul , citizens of wherever country they are from . Naturalization for most of them is just a matter of convenience .

  30. malkin says:

    What does this have to do with David Hasselhoff?

  31. Thank you Bleacher report for that wonderful video posted about the 1994 World Cup in the USA . Among all the great moments , that goal scored by Ernie Stewart of the US , against Colombia , that terrible penalty kick taken by , until then , the greatest goal scorer of that tournament . The music chosen was also magnificent , specially the famous aria “Nessun Dorma”, from Puccini’s Turandot , and of course the very American ” West Side Story “, by Leonard Bernstein .