Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blanco ruling - Way weak

I don't mean weak in the aspect of the discipline handed down. Two years is a pretty solid sentence. But U.S. Soccer wimped out.
I'll highlight the part that is especially crucial: "The suspension is due to his actions during the U.S. Open Cup match between the Chicago Fire and D.C. United on July 8, 2008."
It's pretty much impossible to tell if the punishment fit the crime when the description of what Blanco did to merit the censure is never given.
Why not name exactly what Blanco's trangressions were?
One of the things I believe MLS does right is when releasing discipline information, like adding game suspensions to red cards and so forth, is to include video of the incidents so everyone is absolutely clear what it is that was cited.
Even if the powers that be decided not to release video that DC United reportedly provided to the federation featuring Blanco, the USSF should have at least cleared up the competing stories out in the public. The Fire organization clearly said one thing, while DC United had their own version.
I suspected the truth was somewhere in the middle, but now U.S. Soccer has basically said, "You can't handle the truth" and "We're not even going to tell what really happened."
Also, a bad precedent has been set. Frankly, one reason MLS goes into so much detail in its discipline procedures is to have them act as a deterrent. No one can say, "I didn't know that kicking my hated rival would have such drastic consequences," after Rico Clark's massive suspension. People know exactly what will lead to what.
I mean, did Blanco do anything significantly worse than some of Atlante's players last night? If so, U.S. Soccer should be up front and honest about it. No more pussyfooting around and hiding the facts, giving us a sentence without all the reasons for the conviction.


L.B. said...

Let me add my thoughts:

I think this suspension was handed down for one reason: it was Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Yeah, his actions merited some sort of punishment but as AC pointed out we don't exactly know what those actions were. All we have are conflicting reports. But somehow those actions were worth six games or two years, whichever is longer. You can't handle the truth indeed.

But do you really think US Soccer wasn't going to lay down the law on Cuauhtemoc Blanco? If his name were Charlie White, ol' Chuck would have gotten a game or two. But since it's Blanco and he's been Public Enemy No. 1, he gets a major punishment befitting a player who... a player that... a player whose actions were... uh, bad. I guess that's what we can derive from that. We can't compare these actions to previous actions and other aggressors because we don't know what we're comparing.

And I guarantee you that MLS does not give a shit about this one way or the other because, well, they don't give a shit about the tournament to begin with.

JkR said...

LB I agree with your paragraphs 1 and 3, but not with 2. The difference is I don't think of the penalty as 'Major'. It sounds big, but I doubt CB was going to be playing USOC 2009 anyway, much less 2010.

Doesn't the Ricardo Clark punishment prove you wrong as well? Ruiz was Public Enemy #1, and in that case MLS (granted not USSF) had his back.

Or is the fact that it's USSF the relevant factor here?

Love the blog, thanks.

L.B. said...

I think to US Soccer, Blanco was the hated guy, the villain, whatever. Really, though, he wasn't the one that has done the most damage in terms of goals scored against the US (that'd be Borgetti) or because of a dirty play (that'd be Oswaldo). But Blanco was hated because he's so loved by Mexican soccer fans. Just seems as if they didn't hold back when punishing a Mexican icon.

ghostwriter said...

So...USSF is in the same bed with the same wrinkled stained sheets as TFC fans??? Unable to look past Nationality to the bigger picture and an "honest" result?

If so, truly, soccer is a mess; reminds one of, perhaps, boxing...

(And then the other day we had the story reported of UEFA screwing over a whole town of 65,000 folks over a few hours operation of a burger joint?)

In this instance, however, avoiding even the suspicion of impropriety is necessary for a "ruling" body. USSF needs, for sure, to release the "evidence". Hard to imagine, in this day and age, it's not on U-Tube already...

Kristian said...

Yeah, that is a reach to say that Blanco is being punished because he is a Mexican. I know your heart bleeds for Mexico, but take off the blinders. Blanco has always been a magnet for controversey and I have read very many MLS writers speculate as to when Blanco was going to go ape shit again and get himself fined or suspended. And here he did it and he got a tap on the wrist because who cares about the US Open Cup anyways? Blanco certainly doesn't. He is a great player, but prone to outburst. If you want to hold up someone as an example of a Mexican being unfairly targeted by USSF find one who is not a walking powder keg.

Eric in Baltimore said...

l.b. I think you're full of crap. Because we weren't told by USSF what the actions were that led to the suspension, you presume they were negligible. Saying that they threw the book (debatable) at him just because he's a hero to Mexicans smacks of a persecution complex.

His full punch to the gut of Simms and his disrespectful refusal to leave the field of play in a timely manner were nearly enough to warrant a 6 match suspension. I suspect that more will come to light about his off-field shenanigans with the DC staffer.

I don't like Blanco, but it isn't because he's Mexican. It's because he is a petulant, cheap-shot artist who dives constantly, whines to the refs, and shows no regard for his fellow professionals.

A.C. said...

Now MLS gets into the act after all, fining Blanco 7,500 dollars for conduct unbecoming an MLS employee. Actually, that vague term was more rationale than the USSF gave for their ruling. MLS remains tainted by the association, though, because to fine a player without giving the exact reason for the fine is lame, especially in the same release where there's video given to explain the discipline meted out for Steven Lenhart.

L.B. said...

Now, I didn't say it was because Blanco is Mexican. It's because he's Cuauhtemoc. There's a difference.

And is that the same Kristian that e-mails me through my SI stuff? Good to see you here, although I'm not fat anymore so you can't call me your "fat friend" ;)

ghostwriter said...

I dunno, lb, that distinction in the context you originally wrote is pretty much one without a difference. I think you pretty much say Cuauhtemoc got smoked because his name wasn't Chuck White (clearly a "gringo" handle) and he was a hero to Mexican argue you only said because he's Temoc, not Mexican, begs the otherwise explicit identification of him with the cause of Mexican soccer and the motivation for the USSF to punish being, at least in part, related to that identity.

Still, particularly now since MLS, which has often if not always otherwise displayed the "evidence", has gotten into the act let's see the actual infraction. He may be a hothead at times, but you don't (or at least ought not) get punished based on your rep, regardless of the particular infraction involved. If there's a range of discipline available for a particular infraction, the repeat offender, guy with the rep, might have earned himelf the long end instead of the short, but you don't get something outside the accepted range on account of your reputation.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

l.b., I can't disagree with you more. Blanco assaulted a "non-combantant," for lack of a better term, by head-butting a security person on the sidelines. Blanco's damn lucky he didn't get arrested for assault -- and the Fire, the federation and MLS are damn lucky they didn't get sued.

That's why the suspension was so harsh.

Besides, when you say, "do you really think US Soccer wasn't going to lay down the law on Cuauhtemoc Blanco? If his name were Charlie White, ol' Chuck would have gotten a game or two," you make Blanco's ethnicity the issue, not his behavior. Sorry, l.b., but that's racist to the core. Just look at what happened to Ricardo Clark, and he's not Cuauhtemoc Blanco.