June 19, 2015
Dempsey deserves a nice, long, stiff ban
By Michael Lewis
|Clint Dempsey was suspended three goals by Major League Soccer, which will allow him to play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
I always thought that if Clint Dempsey was going to get into trouble again, it would be because of his elbows and not his hands.
Dempsey has a history of doing damage to the jaws of opponents in the past and as I have learned from covering sports all these years, old habits die hard.
But then again sometimes you get surprised, especially concerning Dempsey's conduct during the Seattle Sounders' loss to the Portland Timbers in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night.
Dempsey, if you don't know, received his second yellow card of the night in the 114th minute for dissent. He then was awarded a straight red for grabbing referee Daniel Radford's notebook, throwing it to the turf and ripping it up.
Soccer America reported that Radford had never officiated a Major League Soccer game, but he had been assigned to the match anyway.
On Friday, Major League Soccer slapped Dempsey with a three-game ban, citing referee abuse and not referee assault, which would have meant more games.
Yours truly would have loved to have seen a longer suspension, such as double that amount.
A three-game ban meant that Dempsey will miss the Sounders' next three MLS games and not the CONCACAF Gold Cup. How convenient.
As for the Open Cup, I think a multi-year ban is in order. Yes, I said year, not game (he Open Cup adjudication and disciplinary panel could make a ruling as earlier as next week).
You just don't do that type of things to referees, no matter how poorly he or she is officiating the game.
Sometimes authorities have to set an example, even of a big-time name, to remind players who is the boss. If the penalties aren't stringent enough, there could be similar incidents in the future.
One thing is certain: the notebook incident will hover over Dempsey's participation in the Gold Cup, not unlike Hope Solo's domestic violence issues and history have in the Women's World Cup.
Like it or not, American pro and international soccer are becoming so much more like the other American professional sports, and not always for the right reasons.