Like it or not, athletes are role models. It’s why they get the big bucks on the field and often big bucks off it, as sponsors seek famous pitchmen to hawk their products.
But when sports stars go off the rails — the substance abuse issues of George Best and Paul Gascoigne come to mind — the results can be tragic if no one is willing to tell prodigiously talented stars with egos to match to straighten up fast for the good of their careers and lives.
This week one notable sports site suggested that the recent actions of Neymar, for example, at Copa America were merely about boys being boys.
That’s a dumb, small-minded attitude that portends trouble ahead.
Accountability has sadly been missing of late in the corrupt world of soccer off and on the field.
By coincidence, U.S. Soccer issued a ruling on the Dempsey red card this morning:
The U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel has suspended Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey a total of six U.S. Open Cup matches or the next two years of U.S. Open Cup competition, whichever is greater. The suspension is due to his actions during the U.S. Open Cup match between Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers on June 16, 2015.
In addition, Dempsey has been fined an undisclosed amount.
The panel convened Tuesday, June 23, 2015 to review the evidence gathered in regards to the incident. Mr. Dempsey waived his right to an appeal.
Due to the suspension, Dempsey cannot play in any U.S. Open Cup matches in 2016 or 2017, and possibly longer depending on the number of tournament games in which Dempsey’s team participates in those years.