* (Hat Tip to BigSoccer legend Clint Eastwood): THE AP IS REPORTING that NYRB forward Thierry Henry will miss Friday's match with LA due to a sprained MCL.
No, I am not making this up.
Pop the champagne corks, light the fireworks and crank up Kool and the Gangs' "Celebrate"; MLS has managed to pull back from the mouth of the abyss.
MLS, carefully reviewing the incident wherein Thierry Henry, in an effort to focus attention on himself after not scoring a goal, managed through sheer jackassery to injure Dallas GK Kevin Hartmen, surely took all the circumstances into account before deciding that Henry should be fined about the same amount that he tips the guy who details his car.
It is almost certainly coincidental that the league had scheduled the launch of a major PR push this week to capitalize on Fridays' Galaxy - RedBulls match, complete with banner headlines and a special video:
Displaying wisdom, logic and a sense of justice worthy of the greatest minds in history, the league determined that a little MCL injury doesn't amount to a bucket of warm spit compared to the larger goal of putting FIVE DESIGNATED PLAYERS IN THE SAME GAME! FIVE! COUNT 'EM! FIVE! on a TV screen near you.
Keep your eyes on the prize, as they say.
Now maybe if les Taureaux Rouges were scheduled to play Colorado or Houston in four days then sure, suspend the guy. The league wasn't going to be spending much money on a "Henry vs. Omar Cummings" PR campaign anyway.
(Just in passing, here's my candidate for "Unintentionally Hilarious Article of the Year", courtesy of the normally dimwitted Bleacher Report, and try not to spit coffee on that keyboard when you read it because the IT department is pretty backed up today:
Gee, good question. As long as you're at it guys, why not ponder whether the ocean is wet, mountains are tall and Don Garber would do Whoopie Goldberg in Macy's window and give you 20 minutes to draw a crowd in return for a 5 share in next weeks' Neilson ratings)
It's also worth noting that, as with anything connected with David Beckham (HERE FOR EXAMPLE is a ludicrous piece about how he and Gordon Ramsey, in an effort to "bond with their nippers" (no comment, no sir, not me) went on a camping trip but ended up dodging bullets from Mexicans and so instead checked in to a hotel) this incident has been reported on every sports page in every country on Earth, and since "getting MLS noticed" is one of the main reasons they are paying these guys all that money, in a very real sense Henry is simply doing his job.
Be that as it may, a lot of guys are trying to draw a corollary between some other MLS incident-injury-review-punishment and this one in order to either prove that this decision is consistent or, conversely, to demonstrate that it's simply another example of how MLS coddles superstars and squats on everybody else.
But since there's really no remotely equivalent case where any player - whether a world footballing icon or a third round Superdraft pick out of Eastern Idaho Baptist Teachers' College - has done something anywhere remotely near this utterly stupid, it's simply impossible.
Most of the argument seems to hinge on the fact that since the referee apparently observed the entire incident and chose not to sanction it in any way, therefore there can be no grounds for complaint. Right or wrong, this argument goes, it was a judgment call (or no-call) and should not be second guessed.
The league does, as we all know, review off-the-ball incidents which the referee did not observe, on the not-illogical theory that just because you were able to do something dirty behind the officials' back does not mean you should go unpunished.
They also review carded offenses with an eye towards meting out punishments that go beyond those available to the game official if the situation warrants it.
At the same time, the league has on occasion issued suspensions - essentially issuing an after-the-fact red card - after reviewing incidents that the referee did in fact see and chose not to card. In fact, it's happened twice to everyones' favorite disgrace to the sport Dema Kovalenko for breaking legs.
In fairness, it must be said that it's hard to see how Henrys' showboating, arrogant obnoxiousness qualifies as "violent conduct" in any real sense of the term as it is applied in soccer.
But I think the disciplinary committees' biggest error was in describing what Mr. Handball Cheat did as "unsporting conduct".
Because of course "unsporting conduct" is a specific violation of the LOTG, for which the required - ie. non-optional - remedy is a caution and, in this case, a caution would have been Henrys' second of the game, meaning that he was due a sendoff and a one game suspension.
So at it's most basic, the committee called a spade a spade and then made diamonds trump.
Schellas Hyndman got it entirely right when he said, in his post game remarks, that the referee choked on the call because he didn't have the manparts to send Legendary World Superstar Thierry Henry to the locker room.
It would seem that the league did exactly the same thing.