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More on the Thierry Henry suspension – a cynic’s view

Sep 21, 2012, 4:31 PM EDT

Vancouver Whitecaps FC v New York Red Bulls Getty Images

I almost mentioned this in the previous post, but decided we needed a clean break in the conversation.

Because generally speaking, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I always say, five people in a room can barely agree on where to go for lunch – much less cook up and plan something more complex and nefarious.

We talked before about Thierry Henry being suspended for opening a sneaky can of whup-ass on Kei Kamara. Naughty, naughty, Thierry.

The league suspended Henry for a match.

But was it really a suspension?

It was in the technical sense, that Henry will be ineligible to play Saturday against the New England Revolution up in Foxborough, Mass.

But if you consider “suspension” to be some punitive act, a penalty with some real bite that causes someone to actually consider the consequences of a harmful or illegal act – well, this one hardly qualifies.

It’s as much a penalty as telling a fifth-grader who didn’t clean his room that he will not be allowed to go to school that day. “Now see here, young man, you’ll play video games all day and eat spaghetti for lunch … so I hope you’ve learned your lesson!”

Henry, like so many others with hard and fast roots in the foreign game, detests playing on artificial turf. (Gillette Stadium has the fakey.)

Heck, Red Bulls manager Hans Backe made no attempt to obscure the weekend’s plans. What he said on a conference call Friday:

We weren’t expecting him to play because of the turf. It’s more about the history with his Achilles’ problem. He always picks up some kind of injury on turf. The turf in U.S. is not the best, it is really hard to play on. I think the only one decent is in Portland.”  

So, if I put on my cynic’s hat (it’s not a bit fashionable, so I don’t show it in public very often), I might say that this made the disciplinary committee’s decision easy.

  1. dws110 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Basically, Hans Backe undermined the league’s disciplinary committee. I wonder what the Don thinks of that.

  2. Steve Davis - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    I don’t really think that’s fair to Backe. He just told the truth. Anybody paying close attention is aware of how Mr. Henry feels about arty turf. I certainly am. And I am 100 percent certain that members of the DC are, too. In other words, they KNEW he was less than likely to play when they ‘suspended’ him.

    • dws110 - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:26 PM

      But why, if you’re Hans Backe, do you say anything at all? If you have to say something, just acknowledge the decision the DC made. Why turn what’s basically a wash into what amounts to a taunt?

      • Steve Davis - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        I know Hans a little and I don’t think it’s that way at all. He’s just candid. Nothing more or less to it. And something else, maybe you see things another way. But as a journalist, I can almost always bring it down to this: “What’s wrong with the truth?” I appreciate it when people aren’t filling my notebook full of crap.

  3. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    I appreciate his candor. Most coaching and front office staff should adopt this candor. Is it possible for the suspension to be extended?

  4. phillyphannn83 - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Steve, don’t forget, even though Hans have have just been being truthful and candid and did not intend for his words to be a taunt, the DC may take it that they were just that, an undermining of their ruling and an invitation to extend the suspension, though I don’t see that happening.

    Henry needs to be fined and labelled as a repeat offender. The things he does are the things that keep casual sports fans away from soccer here in the US. No one respects crybabys and fakers, its bad sportsmanship. No other sport in the world has athletes that act like this so routinely. It is absolutely nauseating to see players fake ankle injuries like its been shattered after every single tackle, leave the pitch(some even get carried), and then return seconds later at a full sprint. That is the sole reason why the sport will never permeate the large fanbase that is American sportsfans in general and will be relegated to the diehards.

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