Landon Donovan has received some criticism for an ad in which he reveals he's rooting for Mexico at the World Cup.
United States men's national team great Landon Donovan is taking heat for appearing in an ad in which he reveals he's rooting for Mexico at the World Cup.
Donovan has been appearing in promotions for Wells Fargo, and many, including past U.S. internationals, let him have it via social media, for supporting the USA's bitter on-field rival even after the Americans failed to qualify for Russia 2018.
Donovan is tied for the most goals in U.S. men's national team history and is the all-time assist leader. He came out of retirement earlier this year to play with Club Leon of Liga MX.
In a tweet promoting Wells Fargo, Donovan said "The tournament is here! USA fans, our team may not be in Russia, but our neighbors to the south are," which was met with immediate backlash.
The ad then aired prior to Mexico's World Cup opener against Germany.
Donovan's acts were questioned by former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra and then echoed by Oguchi Onyewu, both of whom teamed with Donovan for years on the national team.
Smh....🤦🏽♂🤦🏽♂— Oguchi Onyewu (@OguchiOnyewu5) June 17, 2018
"You grew up in SoCal and owe much of your soccer skill to playing with Mexicans," Donovan said to Bocanegra. "Your father is of Mexican descent. Look around our country, are you happy with how we are treating Mexicans? Open your mind, stand for something & remember where you came from."
You grew up in SoCal and owe much of your soccer skill to playing with Mexicans. Your father is of Mexican descent (🤦🏻♂️). Look around our country, are you happy with how we are treating Mexicans? Open your mind, stand for something & remember where you came from ✌🏼❤️ https://t.co/1oOD3asfDk— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) June 16, 2018
That retort wasn't taken well by another of Donovan's former teammates, Mexican-American forward Herculez Gomez.
This is an incredibly terrible take. Questioning ones loyalties to culture and/or heritage because HE questioned YOU for taking marketing dollars to “root” for your SPORTING RIVAL?— herculez gomez (@herculezg) June 16, 2018
You can hate El Tri- this doesn’t mean you have anything against Mexicans. ✊🏼 🇲🇽 🇺🇸 https://t.co/xF9JCI1qBC
I’m Mexican- American and I proudly represented the USMNT.— herculez gomez (@herculezg) June 17, 2018
Wife is Mexican.
Our daughter was born in Farmington, Connecticut.
Cheer for whomever the hell you want. Not because a beer company or bank paid “Influencers” to tell you.
*GG will proudly wear both 🇲🇽🇺🇸* pic.twitter.com/DvNNQnxbnf
Donovan has been criticized by others in the U.S. Soccer community, including federation presidential candidate Kyle Martino.
Can’t tell u how disappointing it is to have made personal & financial sacrifices to try & hold our federation accountable only to see former USMNT players profit off the result of that poor governance by asking US fans to support our rivals in the tournament we failed to reach— Kyle Martino (@kylemartino) June 17, 2018
#unsponsored thought re: pushing #USMNT fans to root for #ElTriEng . Please don’t do it 🇺🇸 fans. The rivalry, with all its rancor & spite, is THE defining element of ⚽️ in our region. Watering it down for beer/banks won’t enrich the rivalry, just @AlexiLalas & @landondonovan.— Sebastian Salazar (@SebiSalazarFUT) June 16, 2018
I’d rather cut off my toe than “root for 🇲🇽” & I’m on the outside on this one, but how could I root for my/our rival?! Imagine any 🇨🇱 players rooting for 🇦🇷 today?! I can’t imagine how @AmericanOutlaws would feel if I rooted for Mexico....but then again I’m old school. https://t.co/wN910307vI— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) June 16, 2018
On Sunday, Donovan responded to the critics, saying no one should ever question his allegiance to U.S. Soccer
Donovan has been a vocal supporter of Mexico in the more heated political climate, famously saying, upon his signing with Club Leon, that he "doesn't believe in walls" as a clear reference to President Donald Trump's wish to build a border wall between the two nations.