Bradley joins Toronto FC coach in criticizing league for supplemental discipline
Saturday, Apr 05, 2014 11:30 am
TORONTO - Toronto FC star midfielder Michael Bradley has joined manager Ryan Nelsen in criticizing the MLS disciplinary committee for supplemental discipline on incidents already ruled on by the referee.
Toronto has been stung twice already this season by the league's armchair justice, with the disciplinary committee handing one-game suspensions and fines to Brazilian midfielder Jackson and captain/defender Steven Caldwell.
"I think at some point they're going to have to look at the way it's all handled and really think about how they want to do things moving forward," Bradley said after the last training session prior to Saturday's game in Columbus.
Jackson was disciplined for an elbow thrown off the ball in a 1-0 win over D.C. United two weeks ago. Caldwell was punished for a studs-up tackle in last week's loss against Real Salt Lake City.
Both players received yellow cards on the play.
Bradley called Caldwell's challenge "a hard tackle."
"He comes in late, there's no doubt about that," Bradley said. "If, at that point, the referee decides to give him a red card, you're frustrated but yet you can look at it and say 'You know what, that can be a red card.' But if the referee gives a yellow card, you still look at it and say 'It's a hard yellow but it's yellow. Five times out of 10 it's a yellow, five times out of 10 it's a red.'
"But still you have to respect the referee's decision. You can't have a league where now a group of people sit around on Monday morning and re-referee every game. It doesn't work like that and hopefully moving forward, this is something that can be looked at."
Nelsen argues that such supplemental discipline can undermine referees if they have dealt with the matter on the pitch.
He also fears that if the process continues, clubs will have a shopping list of grievances they will want reviewed.
"The league like everybody is just learning and living and growing and trying to make the best product," said Nelsen.
"What they've got to do, like players, they've got to learn from things that they do," he added. "Sometimes they're good things and sometimes they're mistakes.
"In my opinion, this will stop in four or five weeks time because every single club now will start arguing for a suspension on opposition players. And they'll get inundated with it. That's what happens. We've seen it before in other leagues."
According to the league, the disciplinary committee's mission statement is "to preserve the integrity and reputation of the game and Major League Soccer, and to assist in ensuring player safety.''
The disciplinary committee, however, can take further action on cases already ruled on by the referee if there is unanimous opinion that the play deserved a red card or was of "an egregious or reckless nature, such that the committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game."