On April 19, MLS announced that it has suspended the New York Red Bulls' Rafa Marquez for three games because he broke the collarbone of San Jose Earthquakes' Shea Salinas. Considering the focus on retroactive punishments this season, I think a suspension of three games is not harsh enough in this case.
Shea Salinas' Injury During the Game
Rafa Marquez essentially tackled Shea Salinas and also kicked him during the match on April 14. Salinas could miss up to eight weeks because of a broken collarbone. The video from the game clearly shows that the incident was intentional, and it was not the first time that Marquez was blocking Salinas.
The Response from the MLS Disciplinary Committee
The MLS Disciplinary Committee has been busy handing out retroactive punishments this season. However, I think the small suspension for Rafa Marquez only creates more confusion about the decisions from the committee. The inconsistency in doling out suspensions is becoming more obvious.
In 2011, MLS decided to suspend Brian Mullan for 10 games because he broke the leg of Steve Zakuani. Is breaking a collarbone a smaller offense in the eyes of the committee, and does Major League Soccer have a secret sliding scale that is being used to punish players? The latest penalty from MLS simply adds more complications and fuel to the arguments that the league is only capable of contradictions.
Prior Problems with Rafa Marquez
It is not clear if the MLS Disciplinary Committee considered the previous penalty it issued to Rafa Marquez. He was suspended for three games because of the Oct. 2011 playoffs. Rafa Marquez threw the ball at Landon Donovan, and his recent punishment raises the question of how MLS should handle ongoing bad behavior.
The latest announcement from the MLS Disciplinary Committee also highlights the problems with referees. Rafa Marquez did not receive a red card for injuring Shea Salinas, but he was given one in Oct. 2011. However, he has ended up with the same sentence length in both cases. It seems MLS is incapable of suspending him for more than three games at a time.
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Lana follows MLS, UEFA and FIFA. She has been a faithful fan of the Chicago Fire since 1998. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.