Frank Lampard looks set to finalise his move to Major League Soccer side New York City FC in the next few, but the former Chelsea star is facing a lot of heat from natives of 'The Big Apple' following an article in a prominent New York newspaper.
The New York Daily News today printed what was essentially a retelling of the time when Lampard was one of four Chelsea players who was disciplined for what they call "mocking grieving Americans after the 9/11 attacks."
From the NYDN:
"In 2001, Lampard was among four British players who mocked American tourists stranded at a hotel near Heathrow Airport because of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Just 24 hours after the tragedy, Lampard and his Chelsea teammates drunkenly stripped, swore and vomited in front of the upset U.S. tourists. He and his mates were fined by the club."
As you may well imagine, there were a fair few Americans who were not best pleased upon learning of the star midfielders actions.
"Lampard for NYCFC is close? No way. Keep him away. His 9/11 drunken antics can't stay far enough away from here," said one New York sports fan while Midas Mulligan, wrote on a fans forum that “(Lampard) better be down there sweeping the grounds at 1WTC EVERY DAMN DAY, after he publicly apologises to every American for being a s***bag of highest order. Maybe then, and only then, will I consider supporting him.”
However, it seems that some of Lampard's biggest defenders appear in the comment section of the online version of the article itself which is by Bill Hutchinson. 'RPRon' put it on naivety saying "That was how many years ago? We've all said stupid and inappropriate things at 20 something... Let's move on."
Other commenters noted the fact that there are Americans living in the country already that attack their own countrymen. "Sandy Hook happens and people harass the parents saying their dead child is fake," one said.
"The Boston Marathon was bombed and teen girls insist one of the terrorists is too pretty to be guilty. Soldier's get buried and groups protest it. Gays and lesbians try to marry and the government says they aren't allowed."
It really should be noted that it is completely possible that Lampard and the other Chelsea players didn't mock the Americans at the Heathrow hotel at all. The original BBC report of the incident just states that the players were kicked out for being loud and drunk and the vomiting.
There is no mention of actually abusing the tourists stuck at the airport, just that they were there watching the TV in the bar while the footballers were being drunken.
It is unfortunately more than likely that the horrible accusations of attacking the Americans were made up by British tabloids who put two and two together and came up with 9/11 hysteria and pound signs from sales.
Neither the statement from the hotel, Chelsea FC nor Lampard's autobiography say anything about insulting the bereaved at all.