Luke Rodgers Will Burn Off Your Face, Landon Donovan

Petchesky alerted you this morning to the minor dust-up between Landon Donovan and new Red Bulls striker Luke Rodgers, in which the Englishman called the Yank a (genitalia)head. Donovan may very well act like an entitled whinger but Rodgers should hardly be chucking stones when calling people a dickhead. I've already seen him make at least one dirty play by trying to slug DC United defender Dejan Jakovic just for the hell of it.

Back in England, Rodgers developed quite a reputation for thuggery. He once got angry enough with an opponent that he allegedly assaulted him in a parking lot after the game. A month later, he threw a nasty elbow that laid out a different man. He scored a hat trick in another game, went on the piss, and got arrested "in connection with a violent incident."

But the most memorable Luke Rodgers episode — and the one that delayed his arrival in the United States by a year — is the time he disfigured a 16-year-old girl by accidentally and un-euphemistically shooting fireworks in her face. From a BBC article about the incident:

[Sarah] Morris was hit in the face by the firework outside the Spitfire Inn pub in Castle Bromwich on 10 October last year.

It stuck to her skin and exploded causing burns and scarring on one side of her face.

As a result, she has undergone physiotherapy for her injuries and a number of skin grafts.

Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Richard Cole told Rodgers that Miss Morris had suffered horrific injuries from which she will never fully recover. ...

The court had heard Rodgers, of Hodge Hill, Birmingham, bought two rockets and launching tubes from a salesman who called at the pub.

One firework had flown out of control when he was testing it on the grass verge outside the pub, and travelled horizontally rather than vertically, striking Miss Morris, who was walking in the street a substantial distance from the pub.

The court heard it stuck to her skin and continued to burn and spark, causing her to fall to the ground screaming in shock and pain.

The main charge of the device then exploded, causing further injury and setting light to her jacket.

Rodgers immediately rushed to Miss Morris' aid, apologised to her and drove her to hospital, the court was told.

Note to Donovan: When Rodgers tells you to shut up, maybe you should.

Footballer's pay out to firework victim [BBC]