I know not everybody agreed with me on yesterday’s verdict about the MLS disciplinary verdict on Rafa Marquez. And fair enough.
I know for darn sure that San Jose Earthquakes GM John Doyle didn’t agree with me.
“I’m very, very disappointed that Rafa Márquez only received three games, and that we lose Shea Salinas for eight weeks,” Doyle told reports yesterday. “I think that’s terrible for Shea, because he was playing great for us. And then the fact that Marvin Chavez – for him to get a game’s suspension for that, I don’t think that’s right, either. I totally disagree with the (Disciplinary) Committee.”
So let me say this one more time, perhaps putting it another way:
Rafa Marquez is an unpopular figure around MLS. I get that. But if we’re assessing fines and suspensions based on popularity that’s a super-icy-dangerous-slippery slope.
What Marquez did to Shea Salinas makes him a stinker, for sure. But the injury was kind of a freak thing.
Meanwhile, a tackle like Marvin Chavez’s on Roy Miller could be a career ender. Chavez got one game.
Marquez got a stiffer fine because Salinas was injured, and I think that’s fair. Marquez won’t miss as much time as Salinas, and that falls under “unfair” in the life sense, but eye-for-an-eye or week-for-a-week suspension justice is another super-slippery slope.
Here’s the bottom line: Anybody now complaining about the disciplinary committee’s tough job has lost all right to ever say “This league needs to protect its players.” Because that’s exact what MLS is doing now.
I’ve beat up on MLS for so long for not taking action just like this. Is the science exact? Hardly. But the movement is in the right direction. They won’t always get it right, and the consistency requires constant adjustment – but it’s still better than the previous status quo.