MLS boss chides media over Lionel Messi focus, compares him to Taylor Swift

Lionel Messi2

As the 2024 Major League Soccer season kicks off on Wednesday night, all eyes are looking at Lionel Messi and his first full season with Inter Miami. 

Messi will take on Real Salt Lake on the road to begin the year, and though the general consensus believe Messi is good for the MLS, there is one who isn’t a big fan. 

Don Garber, the league’s commissioner, thinks the attention on Messi is too much, especially from the media. 

Lionel Messi celebrates

Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Union during the first half of a Leagues Cup soccer semifinal Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, in Chester, Pa.  (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

“It’s easy and somewhat lazy for reporters to just write about Messi — it’s like writing about Taylor Swift,” he told Sports Business Journal. “There’s so much more here that I think people need to recognize.”  

Garber’s comments come at a time when intense focus is on the MLS, especially considering their deal with Apple, a 10-year, $2.5 billion partnership that has MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. 


One of the main reasons for Apple’s investment is the arrival of Messi and his other famous teammates, including Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. 

They are expected to be one of the best teams in MLS this season after winning the 2023 Leagues Cup on Aug. 19 last year. 

Lionel Messi corrals the Toronto

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami controls the ball during the first half during a match between Toronto FC and Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on September 20, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

But it’s also not wrong to see a league commissioner wanting widespread coverage of the other great players and teams around the league. 

Garber’s comparison of Messi to Swift, however, is an interesting one. He’s obviously referencing how the NFL was covered this past season with Swift dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce on their path to another Super Bowl victory. 

Sure, like Swift, Messi is one of the most recognizable faces across the globe, and anything involving him will make a headline. 

Lionel Messi gets the ball

Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi, right, takes the ball past Toronto FC defender Kobe Franklin during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

But for soccer, Messi is king and coverage of one of the best players to ever lace up a pair of boots is a necessity for the millions of soccer fans that will be tuning in to see him all season long with Inter Miami.

Southland Conference suspends 8 basketball players over postgame brawl

Eight college basketball players who were involved in the brawl following Texas A&M-Commerce’s game against Incarnate Word have been suspended by the Southland Conference.

The Texas A&M-Commerce Lions defeated the Incarnate Word Cardinals in overtime on Monday night. But, as players participated in the traditional postgame handshake line, a melee erupted. Coaches, staff members and other players from both teams tried to intervene as the fight spread across the basketball court.

It remains unclear what caused the incident to start. A total of four players were suspended from each team for what the conference described as “flagrant unsportsmanlike actions.”

NCAA basketballs

An all-out brawl broke out at the end of the Southland Conference game between Texas A&M-Commerce and Incarnate Word on Monday, lasting several minutes before both teams exited the court. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The suspensions are effective immediately, the conference said.


Texas A&M-Commerce’s Jerome Brewer Jr., a 6-foot-9-inch sophomore forward who played at Camden High School in New Jersey, one of the best teams in the country, was seen in the middle of the skirmish fighting his coaches as they attempted to hold him back.  

As Brewer continued to fight his way through his own team, the scrum continued to move across the court and Brewer eventually fell on top of his own people.

Brewer, along with teammates Ant Abraham and Kwo Agwa, were assessed three-game bans and Prince Davies will serve a one-game suspension. 

Incarnate Word’s Elijah Davis was suspended for three games and Alex Anderson, Gabe Beny Til and Marcus Glover were given one-game suspensions.

“The Southland Conference Board of Directors has set clear expectations for sportsmanship and behavior of our student-athletes, coaches, and spectators during and after competitions,” Southland commissioner Chris Grant said in a statement. 

“Unfortunately, these expectations were not met on Monday night, and the Southland Conference will not tolerate any unsportsmanlike behavior. I would like to extend our appreciation to A&M-Commerce Athletics Director Jim Curry and [Incarnate Word] Athletics Director Richard Duran for their unwavering partnership and diligent resolution of this matter.”

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Southland Basketball Championships logo at the Legacy Center in Lake Charles, LA. (Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports)

Both schools released a joint statement shortly after Monday night’s incident, saying the series of events were unacceptable in college sports.

“The unsportsmanlike conduct that occurred after the game does not reflect the values of the universities involved, as well as the Southland Conference and their member institutions,” the schools’ statement said.

Super Bowl champion Tim McKyer arrested on multiple hit-and-run charges

Tim McKyer, a former NFL cornerback who won three Super Bowl titles during his career, was arrested in Florida on Monday on several hit-and-run charges, according to online records.

McKyer was charged with five counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving damage to property. He was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail and released on his own recognizance. 

He was assigned a public defender in the case, according to the Palm Beach Post. Per policy, the outlet reported the county’s public defender’s office doesn’t comment on active cases.

Tim McKyer booking photo

Tim McKyer booking photo. (Palm Beach County Jail)

McKyer was accused of crashing his Tesla into five parked vehicles in the parking garage of a condominium complex in Riviera Beach. According to an arrest report, authorities were contacted Sunday about a “hit and run,” and a responding officer launched an investigation. The report said CCTV footage caught the suspect being involved in the crash and then parking in the garage.

The responding officer went to McKyer’s unit to question him, according to the report.

The report said the responding officer “detected the odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath and skin” and that the man was “not aware of an accident that occurred.” McKyer was then placed into custody, taken to a hospital and booked into jail.


Tim McKyer in Super Bowl XXXII

Tim McKyer #26 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after making a play against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII  on January 25, 1998 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

McKyer, 60, also received a criminal citation for a traffic misdemeanor for leaving the scene and a citation for a traffic infraction for failure to report, according to records.

The San Francisco 49ers selected McKyer in the third round of the 1986 draft. He played four seasons for them before he bounced around the NFL.

McKyer played for the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos before he called it a career after the 1997 season.

He won Super Bowls with the 49ers and Broncos.

Tim McKyer for the Falcons

Defensive back Tim McKyer of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball during a game against the Washington Redskins at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Rick Stewart /Allsport)

He is due back in court on March 4.

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