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Good on MLS for attempting to explain – but they got this one wrong

May 9, 2013, 4:33 PM EDT


Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee has a tough job.

And good for the league for further efforts in transparency on this one, for going out of its way not only to explain some choices here, but in recognizing that MLS fans are going to raise a curious brow over this one.

All that said, they just got it wrong.

In the video below, MLS executive vice president of competition Nelson Rodríguez explains about three big disciplinary decisions lately. One resulted in a two-game suspension to San Jose Earthquakes bad boy Steven Lenhart, a repeat offender who never met an opponent that he didn’t want to punch, kick, elbow or otherwise give a little bit of the business to.

In another one, Sporting Kansas City’s Paulo Nagamura was busted for being a brat; he got one game off.

And then there was Seattle striker Eddie Johnson, who tried to go all MMA on fallen Philadelphia Union man Antoine Hoppenot last week. No, Johnson did not make solid contact as he appeared to drive his knee toward Hoppenot’s face. But intent matters here, especially as we consider potential danger of knees meeting faces, and this should have been dealt with. Period.

Here’s Rodriguez attempting to explain the decisions, along with video of each incident.


  1. krazymunky - May 9, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    so if i try to drop kick someone in mid air ….and miss. i dont get suspended! because i didnt actually do anything.

  2. teamperkins11 - May 9, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I am reminded of the movie “Billy Madison”…

    “Mr. Madison (Rodriguez), what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  3. dws110 - May 9, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Bonus points for giving him the business!

    • mvktr2 - May 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Love ‘giving him the business’ references! 10 Points Grifendore!

      Also enjoyed the guy got a ‘shades of grey’ comment in.

  4. scoocha - May 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    But did he flop? If so, then its a little justified.

  5. mrstev - May 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    What a total DOUCHEBAG!

    The fact that he had to come out with this “clarifying” statement is testament to fact that they know they’ve screwed the pooch on this.
    Clearly punishments are being handed out based on reputation:
    – Eddie Johnson, Golden-Boy, – no punishment
    – Steven Lenhart, Bad-Boy, – 2 game suspension

    I defy any sane person with no knowledge of player reputations to look at those two offenses and conclude that Lenhart’s was worse that Johnson’s.

  6. twalkray - May 10, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Can we get an Oversight committee for the Disciplinary committee? And could their decisions also be just as arbitrary?

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