If you watched the final round of group games at the 2015 Copa America this weekend, then you might have heard that CONMEBOL upped Brazil captain Neymar’s suspension from one game to four after its disciplinary board met on Friday to discuss the player’s punishment.
As it turns out, in addition to the two yellow cards and one red card that the player received in two matches at the Copa, the disciplinary board also took into consideration Neymar’s post-game behavior, including abusive comments the player made toward referee Enrique Osses in the tunnel after the game, as well as in his post-game interviews. He also received a $10,000 fine.
As we’ve noted before, Neymar’s Friday sentencing by the disciplinary board capped a bizarre process that saw him go from a two-game ban to a one-game ban, and then back up to a whopping four-game ban that rules the 23-year-old out of the rest of this year’s Copa America (and possibly, the first few games of next year’s, depending on how Brazil does).
In another bizarre move, despite the assertion of Seleccao coach Dunga that the country’s soccer association (CBF) would protest the ban, it instead issued a statement on Monday claiming that both the player and the organization had accepted the four-game ban and fine, and that Neymar would now depart the team’s training camp for a holiday following the long season he’s had.
Neymar also took to social media, where he posted a long statement to fans on his Instagram page, saying cryptic things like,"‘Regardless of where I’ll be from now on, I’ll always follow Brazil, rooting for the success of my teammates." Maybe it’s the translation, but you could be forgiven for thinking that the player was referring to an early international retirement here. As it turns out, he was simply referring to an early vacation.
The Barcelona forward then goes on to justify his decision to leave the camp by saying: “staying here training is killing me inside… With no joy. It’s awful to train without preparing for something and this could lead to an accidental injury, which would make it even more difficult.” He adds that staying in the Selecao camp, “could bring a bad environment of “Concentration” issue that would take the focus away from the team’s main purpose -- as it obviously did the last time Brazil missed him in the World Cup semifinal. Finally, Neymar apologizes to his colleagues “for putting myself in this situation but I’m sure this was an important learning curve in my career.”
And with that, Brazil’s most talented player f-ed off, embarking on a fabulous vacation somewhere that most of us could only dream of affording.Good grief.
Off The Post doesn’t even know where to begin with this. Should we start with the tone? Certainly, the 23-year-old’s message sounded more defiant than contrite, which, for
anyone who regularly follows the English Premier League knows is often a one-way ticket to more bans and fines.
But really, who does this kid think he is? And who is his publicist for allowing him to publicly post something so devoid of remorse? His ban, lest he forget, is the result of a series of insubordinations throughout the short duration of his Copa experience. And he only manages to apologize to his colleagues for, again bizarrely, “putting myself in this situation”. Huh? What does that mean exactly? He’s apologizing to himself?
In any event, what about apologizing to the people of Brazil—heck, how about the people of South America—for his deplorable conduct throughout this tournament? How about CONMEBOL? How about the organizers of the tournament? How about his fans at Barcelona? Oh, and how about referee Osses, who, regardless of his performance, was the most important authority figure in that stadium?
As far as OTP is concerned, it is critically important for young kids around the globe need to learn that the referee is someone to be respected, always, no matter how much you disagree with him, yet Neymar has gone and provided the world’s worst example of how to treat a referee, both during and after the game, and for that, Brazil coach Dunga and the CBF need to punish him further.
Unfortunately, It looks as though Neymar organized all of this with the CBF’s blessing, but let’s hope that the Barca star went rogue with that Instagram post. Let’s also hope that there are some real repercussions for his sustained petulant-ness when something doesn’t go his way. His behavior at the Copa America is no way for a professional player to act, let alone a captain. Dunga should take a long, hard look at this situation after the Copa America and possibly strip Neymar of the captaincy when he next calls him up for national team duty. If nothing else, that might finally teach him the lesson he has obviously not learned here.