Another Tournament, Another Scandal

Well it just wouldn’t be appropriate to play in a tournament scandal free, so it was no surprise to see this. And right under the deadline, too.

In case you haven’t heard, 8 players were removed from Mexico’s roster for whoopin’ it up in a Quito hotel with what have been reported to be ladies of the professional quality. The 8 were Nestor Vidrio, Nestor Calderon, Israel Jimenez, David Cabrera, Marco Fabian, Javier Cortes, Jorge Hernandez and Jonathan Dos Santos.

Call me old school, but aren’t you supposed to send the hookers to the other team’s hotel rooms?

If y’all remember, a similar thing happened last fall, and in the fallout two players: Efrain Juarez and Carlos Vela, were suspended for 6 months for having two people in room when they had only paid for a single. With that precedent set, National Team Director, Hector Gonzalez Iñarritu followed suit: suspended 6 months, and fined $50,000 MXN. A little excessive if you ask me, but that is what happens when you set a ridiculous precedent.

Juarez and Vela sat out their suspensions, and missed a grand total of 1 game, a February friendly vs. Bosnia. That would have made more sense to me.

For the players, their confessed indiscretion is costing them a huge opportunity to showcase their skills. The Copa America stage is as big as it gets on this side of the world. Jonathan Dos Santos, in particular, will miss out in yet another chance to play for Mexico in a tournament, and another chance to play with his brother. Marco Fabian was in great position to be a break-out star. Now they, along with the other 6, can work on their tans and reflect on the decisions they made that ended up putting them on the beach and not Argentina.

The FMF has decided to field replacements with seven U20 players, and Edgar Pacheco, who had been cut from the squad previously. It is a terrible shame this had to happen. The U22 team looked to be showing signs of life in their prep games leading up to the tournament, but rules are rules, and these cats knew the consequences if they were thinking of breaking them.

It makes me wonder, were they told, “don’t do this” or “don’t let me catch you doing this?” Either way, they got caught, and are yet again heaping unnecessary amounts of negative publicity on Mexico’s National team. Again. The FMF can do that on their own without any help from the players, thank you very much.

Because Concacaf had put the qualifiers on Mexico’s participation in the tournament, it would not have been surprising if this was to be Mexico’s last Copa America participation. Now with a team that has been watered down even further….

Mexico has had great success in Copa America and have a great record to show for it: they have more than held their own against Brazil and Argentina and have won 2/3 of their games against the other South American teams. But it is not an official tournament for Mexico, which makes it harder and harder for them to field full strength teams, especially when the majority of their stars play abroad.

Despite the sudden suspensions, this team still has a chance to make it past the first round. And if they go in as a third place team, they will probably face either Brazil or Argentina, which would have been hard enough at full strength. With a bunch of kids? Ay ay ay!

This team was going to be fun to watch. Now we'll see if they can survive.