Charlie “Diver” Davies in a familiar pose – spending more time on the ground than his feet – in an April game against the Galaxy (Photo by Getty Images).
MLS announced today that the D.C. United striker was fined $1,000 for “putting the game into disrepute” in the 83rd minute of the contest against Real Salt Lake last weekend with a dive that earned him a penalty kick.
“Diver” Davies converted the the spot kick and D.C. United hauled themselves into a 1-1 tie with RSL. It was his fourth PK conversion on the year.
“He just kicked it away and jumped over,” RSL defender Chris Wingert who made the tackle told our sister paper The Salt Lake City Tribune, shaking his head. “It’s almost laughable.”
MLS was similarly unimpressed with the play.
“The MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled that Charlie Davies intentionally deceived the officials and gained an unfair advantage which directly impacted the match,” MLS Executive Vice President Nelson Rodriguez said. “This type of behavior tarnishes the image of the League, is detrimental to the game and will not be tolerated.”
“Moving forward, all instances of behavior that serves to deceive and that directly impact the game will be subject to severe discipline, including a fine, suspension or both.”
MLS didn’t say why Davies wasn’t suspended in this case.
After all, this wasn’t the first time this season that D.C. United and Davies have benefited from exactly this situation, as Galaxy fans will ruefully recall.
RSL players remembered “Diver” Davies’ history, too and wondered why game officials did not.
“You’d think they’d learn, or watch games,” RSL midfielder Andy Williams told the Tribune. “I guess they don’t watch games.”
Apparently even when they’re officiating them.
Here’s a tip to MLS referees from someone with a vast amount of officiating experience (I called intermural games in college and for tiny tots more than 25 years ago): If you don’t see contact, don’t make the call. You must be sure – i.e. actually saw – a legitimate foul occur. And clearly, in this case, there was no contact.
And MLS wonders why its officiating is constantly criticized.