Melissa Tancredi avoids suspension, can play in bronze-medal match

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FIFA will not punish Canadian Melissa Tancredi for the now-infamous stomp on Carli Lloyd’s head in the 55th minute of of the United States’ 4-3 victory over Canada. (You’ve heard about this game, yes? If not, you really need to get out more.)

It’s a questionable decision, but I think it’s ultimately the right one.

In a vacuum Tancredi should 100% be suspended for a couple games, maybe more. Deliberately cleating a fallen opponent in the head is dangerous, dirty, and just plain “highly illegal” to borrow a phrase. There is no proof she did it on purpose, but I’d argue it is certainly as bad as Lady Andrade’s punch to Abby Wambach that drew a two-match ban.

But the game wasn’t played in a vacuum. It was an ugly affair all around, with plenty of suspect refereeing decisions on both sides of the ball. The aftermath of the game keeps getting uglier and uglier. If FIFA suspends Tancredi, they will only prolong the narrative, taking the focus away from what promises to be an epic final.

It’s not fair that Trancredi didn’t get suspended, but the decision is the right one. FIFA should tell Trancredi her actions were absolutely unacceptable, that they will come down incredibly hard if she does anything similar in the future, and move on.

After all, there’s a gold medal to win.