PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania:ONE GOOD turn generally leads to another. That wasn’t the case for Darren Mattocks in Sunday night’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final between Jamaica and Mexico, when the 24-year-old striker was not handed a starting place.Head coach Winfried Sch‰fer explained in the post-game press conference that “it was a tactical” decision, as he wanted Simon Dawkins – with whom he has been alternating the starting place – to press their midfielders for a tighter defensive system at the start of the game.Mattocks had scored in the previous game when Jamaica hit a high, creating history with a 2-1 semi-final win against the United States at Georgia Dome in Atlanta, their first over the Americans on their turf.However, he was left on the bench, and within a minute of entering the field at the 60th minute, Mexico scored their third goal enroute to a 3-1 win.However, Mattocks came up trumps for the second game running by scoring at the 80th minute to hand the Reggae Boyz a consolation goal.”A bit too late,” he admitted.Asked if he was disappointed at not being included in the starting eleven, the straight-talking player said: “As a striker, you’re always going to be disappointed, especially after scoring in the last game, beating America for the first time in America.TEAMGAME”But it’s a team game, a team effort, and I’ve got to respect the coach’s decision and just come in the game and make an impact. Unfortunately, my impact was just a bit too late,” said Mattocks.”We need to move forward as a country, and we’re gonna get back to the drawing board and not get too complacent about this because it’s a great run into the final, but there are things that we can improve on and, hopefully, we’ll move on to the future in the right direction,” he added.Mexico, meanwhile, were lifting an unprecedented seventh title. The United States (five) and Canada (one) are the other tournament winners.”Hats off to the Mexican team,” Mattocks said. “They did fantastic in this game, and they deserve to be champions.”
By now, anyone who’s interested has already seen the disturbing images of the calamitous ending of Tuesday’s immigrant march in downtown Los Angeles. It’s all over Fox, CNN and the real force, YouTube.com. Along with rally participants, the press corps at the park were hit with batons and shoved, shot at with foam bullets, pushed to the ground and their expensive equipment tossed around like trash. As the 600 LAPD officers decked out in riot gear descended on the crowd at MacArthur Park saying, “Double time, it’s tussle time,” they didn’t distinguish between reporters and agitators. With something that almost seemed like relish, they plowed through anyone in their way. And why not? They were finally getting to let loose on a group of people who pick on them all the time with impunity: journalists. The Police Protective League, the police officers’ union, responded with a request for people not to rush to judgment. OK, but how is it rushing to judgment to say cops shouldn’t interfere with journalists who are doing their job – a job protected both by the U.S. Constitution and city policy, as agreed upon after the infamous DNC clash? Maybe it wouldn’t be prudent to rush to judgment if journalists were throwing rocks or plastic bottles, as the small group of “anarchists” who reportedly provoked the police were doing. But with their TV cameras, recording equipment and LAPD-issued press badges with the bright purple stickers, it was unlikely anyone with the intelligence to pass through the LAPD academy could have mistaken them for anything other than journalists. C’mon, no man wears that much makeup unless he’s in drag or on TV. Maybe in the minds of some cops, the reporters were doing worse than throwing rocks. They were recording what was going on. The job of government and, by extension, its law enforcement proxies and journalists are naturally in mutual opposition. Government tries to limit information and access; journalists try to push for information and access. But usually it’s a metaphorical struggle. Tuesday, it manifested itself in an unfortunately physical way that has and should shake up the LAPD. Fox reporter Christina Gonzalez, with a microphone in hand and beautifully coifed hair, and her camerawoman carrying a large TV camera, were clearly not rally participants. Woe to the officers who knocked the camerawoman to the ground and shoved Gonzalez when she tried to help her partner up. The video was aired on Fox affiliates across the nation. She wasn’t the only nonparticipating, nonthreatening reporter to get hurt by the cops that day. KPCC radio’s Patricia Nazario was trying to get out of the way when she was hit twice with a baton. TV cameramen were pushed and shoved. One video clip showed a large cameraman pushed to the ground, where an officer calmly kicked him. So much for the kinder, gentler LAPD that the federal consent decree supposedly created. If officers feel they must stop their actions from being recorded, you can bet they are doing something they don’t want people to know about, like that Rodney King thing in 1991. “Believe me, this is something we will dig into,” Chief William Bratton told a group of angry reporters the next day in a City Hall news conference. Nearly 24 hours later, they were still fuming from the treatment. “There are a lot of friends in this room,” Bratton said. Don’t doubt he means it, and not just because now even the FBI is looking into the clash. Bratton’s a cop’s cop, but also a savvy politician who adheres to the old theory that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And you never, ever give them a reason for righteous indignation. That will last way longer than a “Budweiser” tattoo across the the chest. Mariel Garza is a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at email@example.comWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE LAPD should know by now that in America, riling up the press corps is about as good an idea as poking at a hornet’s nest. Injustice to regular people is one thing, but meting out injustice to a reporter trying to do her job is like a getting a tattoo when you’re drunk – you’ll never be free of that one stupid mistake. And thank God for that. Without that little measure of protection for the people gathering information for the masses, there wouldn’t be that many people gathering information for the masses. We just don’t get paid enough to get whacked around. But Los Angeles Police Department officers must have forgotten the hard lesson learned most recently in 2000 at the Democratic National Convention. Roughing up reporters and ordinary people cost the city more than $5 million in settlements, and showed the nation what a paramilitary organization looks like when it gets too excited about controlling the crowds.