Saturday, June 25, 2011

MLS FInes Charlie Davies - and What it Means for the League

In a stunning decision this morning, the MLS announced a $1,000 fine against Charlie Davies for his game changing flop against Real Salt Lake. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out here.

Now I will try to compel to you what an incredibly massive victory this is for the league, existing fans, and prospective ones. An incredible precedent has been set today.

I was absolutely irate over Davies’ dive. Wingert executed his tackle perfectly. To the t. He made an amazing play to break up a clear goal scoring opportunity, and in the run of play, his team was punished for it. I don’t even blame the ref here (not completely at least). Would it have been a good idea to check with the assistant before awarding a penalty? Sure. But that wasn’t the primary fuel for my rage. What pissed me off the most while watching the whole thing go down is how helpless I felt as a fan. At the time, Davies was basically exploiting a sinister loophole to gain his team a few points. And after the decision had occurred, I knew nothing was going to reverse it. Well that was all before the groundbreaking decision to punish Davies after the fact for this egregious dive. Does it give Salt Lake their two points back? No. Not even close. But it shows that the league stands firmly on the side of good, not evil deceit. Wingert quoted Charlie Davies as telling him “that’s football” cheekily after the penalty was awarded. Well now in the MLS, it isn’t. For the few fans that found themselves watching their first soccer match that night, they were undoubtedly swayed by the events that took place on the pitch, but I’m confident they and other soccer critics take greater note of this bold move by the league.

What will Davies think of this? He may do what some DC United fans and ‘worldly’ fans have done already. Defend the dive by hollering about how acceptable it is in Europe. He may even make a snide comment or two in private about how he paid a bargain price of $1000 dollars for a point for his team (never mind the two lost by Real). But that’s why this decision by the league is so damn great. What of the ‘worldly’ fans trying to demonstrate their cultural knowledge by supporting “embellishment” now? Well, the little wind they had in their sails to begin with is gone. Perhaps they can row back to their beloved European leagues.

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