Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Only one extra game for Rojas is a bad joke
by Ridge Mahoney, May 22nd, 2009 6:30PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

I'm disappointed that MLS has tacked on just one match to the automatic suspension meted out to Red Bulls midfielder Jorge Rojas for deliberately slamming his elbow into Brian Mullan's face in a league match last week.

The same week, U.S. forward Charlie Davies received a five-game suspension for bludgeoning an opponent during a Swedish league game while vying for a ball in the air. MLS need not follow the examples of other leagues in making its disciplinary decisions, yet the Rojas decision is far too lenient, mainly because he already had control of the ball at his feet and Mullan was challenging for it legally.

In no other sport is contact between the head and the ball an integral facet of play. A ball bouncing off a player's head can be comical, as in basketball or football, or potentially lethal, as in batter struck by a fastball, or in the case of hockey, players struck by pucks. Heads banging together are akin to a pair of bowling balls bumping together, and damage to the skull, neck, and facial features can be extensive.

Players going for high balls lead with their forearms all the time, and until FIFA adopts a rule similar to that in hockey - by which a stick raised above the shoulders in the vicinity of an opponent is a penalty whether or not contact is made - players will be cut, concussed and otherwise injured while battling for the ball, and referees will have to make very hard decisions about whether the contact warrants a red card, yellow card, a warning, or no further punishment.

In many cases, it is the elbow that makes contact with the opponent. But with the arm extended, the elbow is not nearly as dangerous as when the forearm is bent and the elbow sticks out like the head of hammer or point of a spear. This is how Rojas struck Mullan, by whipping his arm and elbow into Mullan's face while the Dynamo player jostled Rojas from behind trying to win the ball.

Fortunately, Mullan was not seriously injured on the play, and after a few minutes recovered and continued playing. But if MLS took this into consideration while pondering Rojas's punishment, it erred. Rojas lashed out deliberately and viciously, and the fact he failed to break Mullan's orbital socket or nose or cheekbone or cut open the face shouldn't mitigate the aggression or intent of his act.

Players routinely get an extra game tacked onto their suspensions if their fouls are especially dangerous or reckless. Bad tackles are committed usually in clumsy efforts to win the ball; if they are blatant attempts to injure an opponent, they should be punished more severely, and so should an act like that of Rojas, which had nothing to do with playing the game.



0 comments
  1. Raymond Dreyfuss
    commented on: May 22, 2009 at 5:40 p.m.
    his is right on


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
MLS Awards: Birnbaum heads rookie class    
Defenders are usually the top candidates for Rookie of the Year and while only a few ...
MLS Awards: Boswell leads the chase for Defender of the Year    
Experienced defender Bobby Boswell played a vital role in D.C. United's rebound from a disastrous three-win ...
Kinnear says goodbye to Houston: 'We did a lot of great things'    
The way forward for Houston is impossible to chart in the absence of former head coach ...
Yallop encouraged despite frustrating season    
The Fire has set a league record for tied games while slipping from its 2013 record, ...
MLS Awards: Rimando is deserving of top keeper award    
Veteran Real Salt Lake goalie Nick Rimando had another strong season despite being called away by ...
Klinsmann kicks Bradley when he's down    
There's an old saying that I think makes some sense: "Praise in public, criticize in private."
USA concedes late again to wind up tied    
The USA controlled play in the first half but couldn't sustain the momentum against Honduras, and ...
USA-Honduras Player Ratings     
In a performance that ranks among the USA's most miserable in recent history, Jozy Altidore provided ...
Donovan signs off with near-miss and fond goodbyes    
The Landon Donovan Era ended with a 1-1 tie against Ecuador as the next phase of ...
USA-Ecuador Player Ratings     
Landon Donovan used the final 41 minutes of his national team career to remind us how ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives