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:
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:
Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) March 19, 2014
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.