Jermaine Jones handed six-game ban

MLS suspended New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones for the six games of the 2016 regular season and fined him an undisclosed amount for referee assault. The suspension would rule Jones, out of contract with the Revs, out of the USA's two March World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guatemala if he remains in MLS.

The incident took place in stoppage time of the Revs' play-in match at D.C. United. New England trailed when referee Mark Geiger failed to whistle what should have been a penalty kick for a handball by United defender Sean Franklin. When Geiger did not call a penalty, Jones raced 30 yards to confront the referee, making contact with him several times. Geiger gave him a yellow card, his second of the game that earned him a red card. New England lost the game, 2-1.

Geiger's reason for not awarding the penalty was that the "defender's arm was in a natural position. Because of the short distance, there was also no time to react. Case of ball-to-hand." Replays suggested Franklin's arm was extended when Jones' pass struck off his arm and then his chest.

An early handball penalty was called on Revs midfielder Scott Caldwell though the spot kick was missed by Chris Rolfe.

Jones is out of contract. If he moved to another league -- the Revs retain his MLS rights -- the suspension would carry over to his first six competitive matches. Jones is ineligible to play in any soccer competition while serving the suspension.
The MLS Players Union appealed the decision on behalf of Jones, but MLS commissioner Don Garber upheld the six-game suspension.

The suspension is identical to the one handed to D.C. United forward Fabian Espindola for assaulting an asssistant referee in the 2014 playoffs. The reason the Argentine played in the 2015 Concacaf Champions League was he had not yet begun serving his MLS suspension because the season had not yet begun.

After the incident, Jones apologized but insisted a penalty kick should have been awarded.

"I think everybody who came today could see it, it was 100 percent a penalty,” Jones said. “My passion then after maybe went a little bit high, but I think it’s normal. It's only two minutes to go, and then you’re out. For what happened after, I would say I’m sorry, maybe because I play with the national team it cannot happen, but it happened. People who know me, they know that I’m not a good loser. In that moment I was really upset, I think if you give Scotty ’s penalty, you have to give this penalty, too.”
-- Sporting Kansas City forward Krisztian Nemeth was suspended for one regular-season match and fined an undisclosed amount for a foul on Portland forward Lucas Melano in their play-in match the Timbers won on penalty kicks.
7 comments about "Jermaine Jones handed six-game ban".
  1. Kelly Quinn, December 14, 2015 at 8:24 a.m.

    Had the ref managed to get the call right, Jones may never have become over zealous. With that being said, Jones deserves a suspension for touching the ref, 6 games though is too much.

  2. James e Chandler, December 14, 2015 at 8:51 a.m.

    I am absolutely appalled that there are so many people that participate at the highest level of competition that do not know the basic laws of the game. Yes, that includes you Taylor Twellman. I heard you incorrectly calling for a similar handball in yesterday's college cup.
    Jermaine Jones, and anyone that agrees that the play in question was deliberate handling is 100% wrong. The defender's arm was at his side (not deliberately making himself bigger), and the ball was kicked with speed from a very short distance into it. This is the very definition of not being a handling offense. At this point whether or not advantage was gained is simply irrelevant.
    Perhaps part of Jones' penance should have been to read the Laws of the Game from which he makes his living, and the position papers on the subject issued by USSF on the subject of what is, and isn't deliberate handling.
    A penalty kick was not earned, warranted, or deserved. The reason the law is written this way is due to this very type of occurrence, a player kicking the ball into an opponents arm. Honestly folks. Is this how we want matches decided.
    Now stop it everyone. The word "handball" isn't even in the laws unless it's a clarification note telling referees to not respond when someone yells it.
    If you don't agree with this post, perhaps you should read them too.

  3. James e Chandler, December 14, 2015 at 8:54 a.m.

    And that includes you Paul Kennedy who wrote ". . referee Mark Geiger failed to whistle what should have been a penalty kick for a handball. . . "

  4. James e Chandler, December 14, 2015 at 9:19 a.m.

    There's a great article about this written by VICTOR MATHESON, USSF NATIONAL REFEREE on

  5. Andrew t Helbig, December 14, 2015 at 1:17 p.m.

    Mr. Chandler, you are wrong! Not sure how much soccer you watch but if it's just MLS then that would explain it!

  6. Jens Jensen, December 15, 2015 at 1:51 p.m.

    The great question: When you make yourself as large as possible to stop a pass or shot - and that includes extending your arms - and the ball is blocked by your hand/arm - is it handling?
    When it is called by most referees in most leagues in most of the world, one guy's interpretation is a fart in the wind. Putting USSF NATIONAL REFEREE in all capitals doesnt impress me much because it is obviously a rule that is open to interpretation - suggesting that he is the all knowing source on the issue - when so many referees in the top level of the game obviously interpret it differently... Fart in the wind... For myself - Stone cold penalty - horrible decision. Jones freaking out is understandable, but getting physical cannot be defended. That being said, I was watching it unfold on the jumbo screen at the C'link and I was also freaking out and disgusted by the decision. It was far more controversial to NOT call it.

  7. James e Chandler, December 16, 2015 at 10:48 a.m.

    The reason that was all in caps was because I copied and pasted it from the webpage that had the article.
    This is not one person's interpretation. It's printed the the FIFA Laws of the Game, and Position Papers issued by USSF.
    Many referees are calling this wrong because they lack the courage to endure the criticisms of the ignorant.
    By the way too many people say, the only way to not get called for a foul for handling is to simply not have any arms.
    I will continue to administer this rule correctly, and respond to every plea for an undeserved scoring opportunity with "Not Deliberate!"
    So Jones' freaking out is not understandable because he's acting out of ignorance which makes it all that much worse because he reinforced a myth about the Laws of the Game.
    Here's another tidbit for you. According to USSF clarification, a player can react with their hands and arms to protect their face and other vital areas from being struck with the ball, and it's not an offense.
    Oddly in High School rules this is not true, one of the differences the Laws/Rules.
    The amazing thing to me is, after having the proof in writing shown to them that people still can't admit that they're wrong.
    The offense is to deliberately handle the ball. It's not rocket science, just plain English.

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