Freedman_jonah
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  • 12:43 AM ET  08.18
Khano Smith broke one of the primary directives of being a professional athlete: You don’t engage fans who are trying to provoke you.

After Saturday night’s tilt between the San Jose Earthquakes and the New England Revolution, I was probably the only journalist who saw the Revs’ big Bermudan striker (pictured) angrily hurl a full bottle of Gatorade at two Quakes fans who were heckling him as he headed toward the locker rooms.

Smith made a lot of enemies in the hostile crowd during his team’s 4-0 loss to the Quakes, mostly for shoving San Jose winger Ronnie O’Brien and continuously trying to bait the Irishman. Every time the 6-foot-3 Smith touched the ball, Quakes fans booed him mercilessly and kept the Bronx cheers going as the humiliated Revolution left the pitch.

But you’ve got to leave that stuff on the field. Smith didn’t. Two fans kept taunting him from the other side of the partition that separates the stadium from the practice field, and Smith played right into their hands, first by inviting them to meet him in the parking lot, then by trying to go after them (a pair of his teammates actually had to restrain him). So instead, he hurled the bottle right at them from about 30 feet away.

Granted, the fans may have been acting like idiots, but that’s no excuse to resort to that form of retaliation. If Major League Soccer gets wind of this, the league could suspend Smith and/or fine him. This wasn’t exactly Eric Cantona karate-kicking a Crystal Palace supporter, but by and large, MLS players don’t assault -- or try to assault -- fans. Stay tuned.

• Add Chris Albright’s name to the list of people who aren't exactly sad to see Ruud Gullit out of MLS. Albright, who was traded from Los Angeles to New England in January, says he knew the second the Dutchman was hired as Galaxy coach last November that he’d be out before the season was over.

“My thought was that he’d be gone by midway through this year -- I thought that two days after meeting him,” said the 29-year-old defender, who was part of the Galaxy squad that made preseason trips to Australia and New Zealand.

What was the problem? “Lack of respect for the players. No real concern about wanting to know MLS or caring to know MLS. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff [he did].”

That echoes very closely some of the comments made by Galaxy star Landon Donovan last week in the wake of the L.A. shakeup.

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