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Check back tomorrow, but it looks like Clint Dempsey’s getting suspended

Mar 19, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT

clint_dempsey AP

We posted about it on Saturday, but if Clint Dempsey really does get suspended for striking Mark Bloom in the groin, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ve seen Major League Soccer exercise convenient discretion when penalizing its bigger names, something the likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Dempsey himself have benefitted from in the past. Even as I suggested the league’s Disciplinary Committee take a look at “Deuce’s” strike on Toronto’s right back, I didn’t expect anything to come of it.

After reports on Wednesday, if appears that the league is ready to hand the Seattle star a two-match suspension, and while the appeals process has to play out before the ban can be officially announced, Dempsey looks set to miss this weekend’s trip to Montréal.

In case you missed it, during Saturday’s visit from Toronto FC, the Seattle attacker struck Bloom in the groin with his right hand, something Dempsey described post-match as an inadvertent – an attempt to slap the defender’s hand off his back:

(MORE: Clint Dempsey takes out his frustrations on Toronto’s Mark Bloom)

Taking place away from the play, the incident wasn’t punished in real-time, and Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen declined to ascribe anything malicious to it. Intentional or not, we see thousands of soccer games that don’t feature this kind of contact. Dempsey should have done more to avoid it.

On Wednesday, the Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larson tweeted the first news of a possible Dempsey suspension:

MLS has yet to make the news official, but this early in the week, the appeals process is probably still playing out. When the Disciplinary Committee decides to act, MLS notifies the club but also provides time for an appeal. Dempsey and the union are likely pursuing that option.

With that in mind, Dempsey could still avoid a suspension. Perhaps he has information that augments the footage we’ve seen – an explanation the league could find convincing. The league could also reduce his punishment instead of eliminating it entirely.

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, answering questions from the Seattle press corps, game us some insight into where the process stands. From The Seattle Times:

(Have you heard from the league, though?) “We know that it’s being looked at and they’re going to come to a decision, yeah.”

(Do you think his status will be resolved before you get on the plane tomorrow?) “We’ve asked for it to be resolved before it’s time to get on the place, yes.”

Seattle gets on that plane to Montréal on Thursday, the day suspensions and fines tend to be announced. Should Dempsey be asked to sit, it would be a slight surprise, given the benefit of the doubt the league’s given to so many other stars. Then again, it would be nice if players had some deterrent from hitting each other in the groin.

  1. dreadpirate82 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    I agree with Simon Borg on his always excellent and over-the-top Instant Replay series that his kick at a Toronto player earlier in the game was actually worse than the groin punch. If he’s going to kick out at guys, he needs to stop complaining about getting fouled so much. I say this as a huge Clint fan.

    • Richard Farley - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      There’s a couple of points with which I agree here: (1) Those Borg segments are excellent; (2) We (Read: I) seem to be forgetting about the kick, which could also factor into the punishment; (3) There is a mild hypocrisy in Dempsey wanting safe passage on the field while being unwilling to grant others the same. They are, of course, linked, in that Dempsey’s actions are often out of frustration.

      • dreadpirate82 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        Simon’s delivery on those videos is the best.

  2. vtcorrigan - Mar 19, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    If Dempsey is suspended then Bloom should also be suspended for embellishment. It would be terrible to see Dempsey get suspended for that little tap when the guys who keep trying to hack Clint’s legs off every game go unpunished. It is no wonder he gets frustrated.

    • skjln - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      I am going to assume that you are a eunuch…

      • vtcorrigan - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        Give me a break. Dempsey wasn’t even facing him and certainly and calling that little tap a punch could only call into question your own manhood. When players go down like they’ve been shot every time someone brushes against them it hurts the game and drives away new fans who are still looking for something to like about the game. I’ve been a huge fan for over 50 years but diving to fish for a call is really hurting our game all over the world. If you want to see what a real nut foul looks like google Paul Gascoigne’s famous foul on Vinnie Jones. Clint’s only error judgment was that he thought he was playing against men.

  3. mikeevergreen - Mar 19, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    The right decision: Dempsey two games for the kick, not the groin thing. Bloom one game for embellishment.

    If Dempsey doesn’t get punished, I can see why, though, he’s just getting back into form, and JK doesn’t want to see the rust come back. Yes, I can see JK interceding, given the group they drew. It’s not right that he do it, but he looks at it as a best interests kind of thng.

  4. hildezero - Mar 19, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    Damn… Gotta hurt. That looked like: *Peter Griffin voice* “Pow! Right in the kissa!…”.

  5. egb234 - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    The complaints about embellishment are lame. Getting hit in the balls (especially from the bottom) hurts, and it can hurt even if the “tap” is light. I have been swatted by my two-year-old and ended up rolling on the ground. Bloom gets the benefit of the doubt because he was intentionally hit in the balls. Dempsey gets two games (although I am sure the kick was considered) and a fair amount of lost respect. Hitting someone in the balls is a cheap shot.

    I have been a huge Dempsey fan for years, but his attitude and actions lately have been annoying me.

  6. el timo - Mar 19, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    All last fall at Seattle, Dempsey was 90% whiner, 10% soccer player. He looked old and slow and cranky (reminding me a lot of myself, actually, but I’m 65.) On Saturday against Toronto, he played much more soccer, but still tried to cry his way to free kicks, plus he took a bunch of cheap shots. MLS needs to send him a LOUD message (which will be quietly appreciated by JK.)

  7. pecorasc - Mar 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    How people could suggest the league should punish for embellishment is absolutely beyond my comprehension. When a player dives without contact, it’s easily determined with an objective look at the replay. In this case, there was contact in the groin. Are we supposed to somehow objectively determine or rate the testicular pain? Sorry, but even if it hurt only a smiley face face on the Wong-Baker, you still can’t give a suspension for embellishment. Imagine the precedent that sets.

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