Remember a couple weeks ago when Chivas USA visited the Portland Timbers and proceeded to get dominated for 90 minutes? It was generally a very fun experience for all, except for the increasingly frustrated Chivas USA players. One of those players, Mario de Luna, in his insistence to get the ball, ended up pushing a ball boy who correctly held on to it as the referee blew the whistle for the Portland Timbers, not Chivas USA. Cue a loud chorus of boos, people jumping up from benches, and a yellow card for de Luna. A few days later, the MLS Disciplinary Commission suspended him an extra day.
So how is it then, that Mario de Luna was able to play this past weekend? The yellow card he accumulated over for pushing the ball boy earned him his fifth of the season, a rightful one game suspension unto itself. Then, for pushing the ball boy, he was served an additional suspension. But he just played on Saturday, having served just a single suspension.
The Goat Parade has a theory on this: it was all due to the fifth yellow card. After questioning Chivas USA, who told Alicia that the league "reviewed it," she came to the conclusion that the league really only wanted de Luna suspended one game and the five yellow card accumulation number did just that.
Here's my problem with that decision though. The fifth yellow card suspension is not there to punish the final card act. It's a punishment for consistent cautions throughout five different games. By the league removing the added suspension they have, essentially, said that pushing a ball boy is no worse than any other yellow card. After all, that ball boy incident is now only 1/5th the reason for de Luna's single game suspension.
That certainly does not seem like enough to me.
Of course, none of this was broadcasted by the league, nor Chivas USA. The MLS Players Union certainly didn't issue any more press releases, especially after they all but condoned de Luna's action against the ball boy:
Physical 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.
Boom. One sentence about de Luna's push and the rest concerning the ball boy's "antics" and his "attempt to impact play on the field." No accountability for their player.
Based on the wording of the press release, it would be my guess that the MLSPU lobbied heavily for de Luna's reduced suspension. And they got it! Good for them.
UPDATE: It now appears that MLS merely removed the yellow card caution and kept the single suspension. Mario de Luna is still listed on the MLS Disciplinary sheet as having four card accumulation with 3 games left to go.
UPDATE #2: Will Kuhns responded VIA Twitter concerning the suspension, here is our tweets to him and his response.
@will_kuhns @thegoatparade @mls In the preview leading up to Chivas vs PTFC it says De Luna was 1 card away from YC accumulation.— Stumptown Footy (@StumptownFooty) May 28, 2013
@will_kuhns @TheGoatParade @MLS He then got one in the PTFC Game. Would that not mean he now has 5?— Stumptown Footy (@StumptownFooty) May 28, 2013
@TheGoatParade @StumptownFooty @MLS Error was in May 15 release. If DiscComm suspends for act that drew YC, the YC does not accumulate.— Will Kuhns (@will_kuhns) May 28, 2013