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.
That sort of knowledge could be valuable tonight for the Galaxy in the U.S. Open cup against amateur team PSA Elite, although there were precisely zero upsets in the round of games played Tuesday in the knockout competition.
The 7:30 p.m. game at StubHub Center includes free parking, $2 tacos from Chancho’s Tacos and $2 beer. Tickets are $10. Or, you can watch here, for free
Read more in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.
— Copa América 2015 (@ca2015_en) June 11, 2015
At the same time the Galaxy were drawing a meager 13,391 and 20,195 for their last two home MLS games against Real Salt Lake and the Houston Dynamo respectively, they were selling out the vast Rose Bowl for an exhibition game against Barcelona.
Make no mistake — they are one of the favorites. There’s a healthy mix of young legs and experience. But the U.S. hasn’t won the tournament this century. Will this version be different?