MLS: Was Clint Dempsey’s two year ban a massive over-reaction?

Imagine any footballing referee’s reaction to a simple tackle: a yellow card to warn the player — a red card if absolutely necessary. The referee at the Portland vs. Seattle match made a good call; he gave Clint Dempsey a yellow card, a reasonable reaction to the slightly illegal tackle made by the Sounders’ striker.

Now imagine any footballer’s reaction to a yellow card: argue with the referee for a while and eventually accept the yellow — hoping that your reaction does not merit a red. This is exactly what Clint Dempsey did not do. Yes, I admit, Dempsey’s initial overreaction to the referee’s yellow card was totally uncalled for. In no scenario was it necessary to throw the referee’s notebook out of his hand — let alone shred it right afterwards.

No wonder the referee gave Dempsey a red card.

Yet this should have been the end of the matter. Instead, the US Open Cup decided to ban Dempsey for two years minimum, or for six future matches. The MLS also banned him from the next three club matches for the Sounders. Yet, if you take this exact reaction and put it under the spotlight (let’s pretend Dempsey was playing for the USA in the World Cup in this match), there would have been no Cup consequences at all. Did Suarez receive such an intense, two-year ban after his incident with the Italian Chiellini? No! All he got was a four-month ban, yet he was still showcased the following week for Barcelona’s A-team. (Of course, Dempsey is no Suarez. However, the severity of Dempsey’s treatment is obviously worse than Suarez’s treatment — Suarez outright bit the defender).

If there is one glimmer of hope for Dempsey, it is Klinsmann’s reaction to Dempsey’s poor performance. Klinsmann, who called Dempsey up for the USMNT in the Gold Cup, offered no possible punishment for Dempsey as of yet. He will, of course, talk to Dempsey about the incident, but it seems like Dempsey will be given the all-clear for the upcoming Gold Cup.

Let’s hope Clint Dempsey learned his lesson, as we’ll need him for the upcoming matches in the Gold Cup.

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