Johnson apologizes to teammates after recent comments

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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.”

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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.

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59 Responses to Johnson apologizes to teammates after recent comments

  1. Sergio of SF says:

    Class

  2. Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

    Self Demolition Man

  3. Joe says:

    I’m sure he’s feeling the pressure to make the world cup squad but still.

  4. Benjamin C. says:

    Pay me!

    • Ted Drews says:

      I know Taylor Twellman gets slagged here a lot but he had a great comment about EJ’s “pay me” gesture. Maybe he was underpaid at Seattle, but he was over paid at Fulham, Cardiff, Aris and PNE.

      Did he give money back then? He should have been happy to have found Seattle and his game and maybe a tickewt to Brazil. A fool and his opportunities soon go separate ways.

      • patrick says:

        why would he give money back? he had a contract, agreed to by both parties.

        EJ’s Pay me comments were about getting him an extension, and more money on the extension. The two aren’t the same.

        • Byrdman says:

          I believe his point was that EJ was underpaid at Seattle. But he was so grossly overpaid at the other places, he was still way on the plus side. Instead of seeing the reality of the past and the present, he may have messed up his future.

      • Andy in Atlanta says:

        He was very valuable for Aris…

  5. sorry but i'm kinda drunk says:

    don’t bring him to the world cup. he’s 30 and useless going forward. retire him now

  6. fischy says:

    I had no big problem with what he had to say in the first place. It was certainly true — though, he should have kept his mouth shut, or said it more tactfully. If he kept it to the team’s approach, that would have come off better….but the fact is that Seattle had more creative and more technically gifted players than DC. has. EJ can’t play the way he did in Seattle, exploiting the openings his teammates were creating. Those opening aren’t there with United…and this was so predictable. In fact, I did predict it. That’s why I was keen on DC getting Pappa and maybe even a CAM from abroad. It’s still not too late. Despite all the smoke they’ve blown about the cap, I’m convinced they have a lot of allocation money left.

  7. WK says:

    Leave this head case at home JK!

  8. Brain Guy says:

    EJ dances around his words the way he does those step-overs — very quickly but without making any discernible progress.

  9. HoboMike says:

    “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.”

    Right, because people have made up that exact same thing everywhere he’s been.

  10. bob says:

    Funny how Espindola can score goals no problem with the same teammates!

    • Ryan SATX says:

      Espindola has always been a guy that makes chances for himself. EJ’s goals came mostly from good service.

    • EspinDOHla says:

      Hear hear!

    • Nate Dollars says:

      they don’t play the same position. eddie’s the hold-up forward; fabian pretty much has the freedom to roam.

  11. JB says:

    EJ better to keep it bland and scripted when talking to the media.
    MLS.being the source of the article is beyond stupid.
    Help/teach your players how to stay away from that type of article. That the league sponsored site put the article out just for the “car crash”, ie. to generate a few more page views” is reprehensible.
    Do those type of articles exist in all sports yes. Does the nba,nfl,nhl, etc. sponsor and promote those articles on its own sites, never.

    • Dan says:

      Right now, on NFL.com there is a picture of Manziel doing a show me the money dance with the headline “Is Manziel right for Cleveland”. All leagues websites show good and bad of the players in the league and MLS is no different nor should it be. You have a misconception of what other leagues websites articles consist of.

  12. Todd says:

    I have no problem with what he said. He stated an obvious fact. DC does not have many technical players, which is weird, because they were known for so long about being such a good technical team. Hopefully that can bring in a CAM this summer to help with Champions League.

  13. Gerard D. says:

    Such a freaking selfish, lazy clown.

    If he never puts on the USMNT jersey again, I will be happy.

    • JayAre says:

      You shouldn’t say things like that on SBI. Most of the commenters think he should be going to the WC and he give us an edge we are missing (the same edge we were fine without in 2010). In all honesty though i think this guy is overrated. Lamar Neagle and Kenny Cooper are filling in for him in Seattle perfectly and they’re complaining way less while doing it.

      • Gerard D. says:

        Yeah, Neagle is a great example of what blistering work rate can do for you. Cooper too. He’s always running and making runs.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        True about Neagle and Cooper doing just fine in Johnson’s absence and not complaining. Of course, Neagle just got a massive raise from $48k to $110k and Cooper makes $265k, whereas Johnson was only making $150k.

    • chris says:

      “Lazy clown”? Hahahahaha you would have been a pro if it wasn’t for that knee injury right? Or maybe it was the coach’s fault? Whatever the excuse is the only “clown” here is you.

  14. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Reason why doesn’t belong in the World Cup. Johnson immature displays with Sounders and his failures with Europe, now making excuses for his lack leadership and poor performance.

  15. BFBS says:

    “sorry guys, I was trying to imitate Ronaldo’s goal against Valencia, and accidentally put my foot in my mouth”

  16. Brain Guy says:

    Say what you will about Altidore, but he doesn’t lay the blame on others.

  17. Birgit Calhoun says:

    If he were scoring goals at D.C. none of this would be an issue.

    • JayAre says:

      He’s not good enough to score goals at DC. Check EJ’s record and look at the kind of goals he scored before Seattle. Seattle really made him look good and DC is exposing him.

  18. Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

    Haters gonna hate!

    The man speaks the truth!

  19. Bobb says:

    “I have never been the type of player to throw my teammates under the bus or talk down upon them,”

    Didn’t he make comments about his Seattle teammates and how they weren’t performing?

    “There were times when Johnson was sitting in the locker room talking so that everybody could hear,” said one Seattle source who asked not to be identified. “He would say, ‘How am I supposed to score if these terrible players can’t get me the ball, if they can’t put a cross in? I’m a goal scorer. I score goals. But I can’t do it if these guys are s—. And how is this guy making so much money? He’s s—. I’m so much better than him.’ That’s a real quality individual.”

    • Nate Dollars says:

      and if you can’t trust unidentified sources, who can you trust?

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        The quote is from the internet, Nate. If it weren’t accurate then your antivirus software would have deleted it.

  20. Murray Braun says:

    EJ now nursing injury.
    Maybe we’ll see him in the 30 next week,
    but not in Brazil methinks.

    • little puppet says:

      I would hope the injury is not the only reason why EJ is left out of the list. His skill alone merits a lifetime ban on the USMNT. I would rather see that roster spot spent bolstering our defense or giving a young prospect a chance.

      • Andy in Atlanta says:

        yeah…never mind the important qualifier goals he scored for us the past 18 months…

        • little puppet says:

          Yeah, goals anyone could have scored. Any player could have tapped in those famed goals (Wondo etc.), you seem to forget the competition during the qualifiers pales in comparison to international play at the highest level. I would also like to add that meeting reasonable expectations during the qualifiers is not enough to merit inclusion in the final roster. There are other variables to consider, cohesiveness amongst the lines, locker room politics, diversity in skillset, etc. I full-heartedly believe EJ brings no drastic improvement over a young prospect with room to develop in a world cup roster. Then again we can live in the past, look at his small contribution in one of the easiest qualifying regions in world soccer, and hype him up only to see him fail once more.