Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mullan Gets 10 Games

The league handed Mullan a 10 game suspension and a $5000 fine today. That's 9 games on top of the 1 automatic game a player gets for a red card. This ties the 10 games given to Ricardo Clark for kicking Ruiz on the ground in a dead ball situation for longest suspension in league history. Mullan has chosen not to appeal.

In my opinion, it was too much.

The only way this makes sense to me is if harsh tackles, injury or not, get more severely punished than they have in the past. The league said today that they told the players in preseason they were cracking down on preseason to protect players from injuries and to clean up the game. If Mullan had done this in week 1 or 2 then this punishment makes sense.

But Mullan made his tackle in week 6, and there have already been numerous tackles of the type MLS was supposedly cracking down on this season that went unpunished or lightly punished. Beckham has gotten yellows for a couple of tackles that could have easily hurt a player. Sounder Servando Carrasco stomped Patrick Nyarko's leg a couple of weeks ago. Live it looked like he could have broken his leg. Luckily he didn't and Nyarko was able to play the next game. He received a yellow in the game which the Disciplinary Committee upgraded to a 1 game suspension and a $500 fine, right in line with MLS precedent.

So despite their talk MLS didn't crack down on bad tackles until Mullan committed a horrendous tackle. If Carrasco has gotten 3 games and Beckham had gotten a game for his tackles, then I wouldn't complain about 10 games for Mullan. What Mullan did was horrendous and deserves to have the worst suspension in this new crackdown era.

By not cracking down on the tackles that didn't result in injury but easily could have, then cracking down on Mullan, the league is telling its players its status quo unless you really hurt somebody. Given the percentage of tackles, even bad tackles, that result in serious injury is very low, that's not much of a new deterrent for players to stop doing making them. Their odds are very good they'll still get away with it.

If MLS cracks down going forward then I'll have no problem with the 10 games. Given the league's track record so far this season and their inconsistency over the history of the league I have no expectation that they will. Because of all that I think Mullan got about 4 games more than he deserved.


Rod Gallagher said...

Reading the original language from the league, it appears that they are taking the resulting injury into account. I do not agree that the resulting injury should be taken into account, it should focus on intent and situation. Just because someone does (or does not) get seriously hurt does not mean the action was good or bad.

Just my two cents.

Allen said...

What would the 2011 MLS do about Mamadou Diallo in 1998? Suspend him for an entire season? After all, IIRC, he got nothing back then because he was reckless but didn't have intent to injure.