Badinage and Discipline

Posted on July 5, 2012 5:08 pm

Wow, none of us have mentioned the Euro final.  Maybe Spain really are boring.  (Spoiler alert – Spain won.  All the “Greatest of All Time?” talk that was put on hold because of Chelsea has been transferred over to Barcelona’s national team.)

But that’s not what I want to talk about.  Instead, I’d like to address a serious topic.  Field mice from “Babe”?

Crime and punishment!

Thank you.

Countless billions of people will never attend a Colorado Rapids game, but for one of our fellow posters, that’s involuntary.  The good news is that fan and front office seem to be on speaking terms.  I had the Just World Fallacy reaction when I first heard the news – “he musta done something,” in other words.  But anything truly bad enough to justify a lifetime ban would preclude any kind of negotiation in the first place, no?

This isn’t even the first time the Rapids have banned someone for life on questionable grounds.  In fairness, the Tibet flag incident banning was delivered verbally, by someone with apparently no authority to do so.  In equal fairness, the bad publicity surrounding that incident should have served as a Hint.

The lesson most MLS fans have taken is that this was a more or less honest mistake by a front office that is trying to balance very disparate fan bases, and occasionally will err on the side of…no, just kidding, most MLS fans lost their minds over this.

Somewhat understandably.  Given that Teddy Montoya’s only crime was, apparently, telling a ref that his call was intercoursing bovine waste (more or less), it’s very easy for most of us to conclude that there but for the grace of God go we.

I would tend not to panic.  The Rapids admitted to keeping records on fan incidents, not fans themselves.  A distinction without a difference, perhaps, since how else would records be kept, if not by fan name?  You can’t lump every incident under D for Drunk.  I’d be very surprised if there was a team in the United States who didn’t keep a record of fan incidents, if only as metaphorical blood on the door to keep the Angel of Litigation away.

I don’t see this as a league-wide threat, which is cold comfort for Rapids fans.  There may come a time when the suede-denim secret police will come for our potty-mouths, but it will some time long after a week when the 1906 Ultras were miked on national television with predictable, if hilarious, results.

Although as of this writing Jed Zayner lies unavenged, justice has been brought to David Beckham.  Surprising me, for one.  Beckham is bigger than the league, he’s apparently working overtime recruiting other famous names to come to MLS, and he’s actually been playing acceptably.  Beckham has also gone unpunished for sins ranging from cynical tackles to public criticism of referees and league officials.  I thought it would be entirely possible that the MLS Disciplinary Committee would decide that the most fitting punishment would be for David Beckham to continue playing for the Galaxy.

I certainly didn’t think Beckham’s suspension would be served when ESPN was in a position to request otherwise, and certainly not when the Galaxy’s next games after the Bridgeview are road games in Cascadia.  It’s not like the Timbers or the Whitecaps need Beckham to sell tickets.  It would have taken very little sleight-of-hand – say, an “appeal” on Beckham’s part – to have delayed the suspension until after Saturday’s game.

But no.  MLS made the more difficult choice.

Unless you think he deserved more than one game for his actions after the game, which included attempted grievous bodily harm on a muppet.

David Beckham and Q, in happier times

 

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