And there it is. We all knew that the acts taken by Mario De Luna against a ball kid late in the game last Sunday would have some sort of repercussion and it appears that most predictions were spot on: suspension. Here's what the MLS disciplinary committee had to say:
Mario De Luna (Chivas USA) - Suspended one game for aggressively retrieving the ball in the 86th minute of the May 12th game against the Portland Timbers (VIDEO). Because De Luna will serve a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation May 19 when Chivas USA plays Real Salt Lake, he will serve this one-game suspension May 25 at Colorado.
It's worth pointing out that the yellow card he received for that shove also earned him a suspension, so he'll technically be out two games.
For those of you still wondering whether the ball kid was in the right or wrong, it appears he was definitely in the right. Here's an excerpt from MLS's own guide on the matter:
"They shall watch for signals from the referee/match commissioner/field supervisor or ball kid supervisor, to whom they are responsible throughout the game. The ball must be given to the appropriate team, as signaled by the referee (the referee will point his arm in the direction of the goal that the team is attacking to indicate which team has possession)."
One could, obviously, make the argument that a ball kid should give the ball to any player who asks, but as of now those are not their instructions. According to a recent article on MLSsoccer.com, the league is considering adding additional instructions for when such as occasion as this arises.
UPDATE: The MLS Players Association has issued a statement on the suspension, making a somewhat bizarre call to eliminate ball kid "antics".
The MLSPA press release:
Players Union Statement on Discipline of Mario de LunaPhysical contact between a player and a ball boy should never occur. Rather than focusing exclusively on player punishment, however, the league must eliminate ball boy antics, as the Players Union requested last year. There should be no place in our game for off-field personnel to attempt to impact play on the field.The failure to address this problem substantially increases the risk of unfortunate incidents like we saw last weekend. The league and our teams must do their part to keep our stadiums safe. We urge the league once again to take action and hold teams accountable for the conduct of their ball boys.
Was De Luna's suspension fair? Did he deserve more?