Mullan Gets Longest Suspension in MLS History for Tackle on Zakuani

Major League Soccer added nine games to Brian Mullan’s mandatory one-game suspension for his straight-red tackle that broke the fibula and tibia of Sounders winger Steve Zakuani last weekend.

The announcement came today, a day later than is usual, as the Disciplinary Committee took extra time to come to their decision, which tops the 2007 suspension (nine games total) of former Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark for doing this to Carlos Ruiz during a Dynamo–FC Dallas game:

(Not to defend what Clark did in the slightest, but Ruiz, a flagrant diver throughout his career, even had to embellish that one. He reacted as though he’d been kicked in the head, which, thankfully, he hadn’t been. But he couldn’t resist making a meal out of what was already clearly going to be a straight red for Clark. Funny. Anyway, back to Mullan.)

There’s plenty of video of Mullan’s tackle, but we saw it on TV when it happened, and that was enough for us, so we’re not going to post it here. Click this if you haven’t already seen it, and you’re not overly squeamish.

Of course the fur began to fly among the MLS faithful the millisecond the decision was announced:

It’s way too harsh!

It sounds about right.

The suspension should be based on the foul, not the fact that Zakuani got injured, which can be chalked up to bad luck [his leg was planted] more than the severity of the tackle….

And so on.

As for that last argument, we appreciated the following point from MLS commenter Randy Meeker:

“If you run a red light, you get a ticket. If you run a red light and hit a pedestrian, you go to jail. Same concept.”

That has a ring of logic to it.

It also stands to reason that because of this lengthy suspension, the next time an MLS player gets a rush of blood to the head over a non-call against him (as Mullan did right before the Zakuani incident), he might think twice before launching his body, full force, into the lower legs of the next opponent he sees with the ball.

Thoughts on the suspension? Too long? Not long enough? Will or won’t have an effect on future recklessness in the league? Let us know in the comments.


One comment on “Mullan Gets Longest Suspension in MLS History for Tackle on Zakuani

  1. omatv says:

    i like it. hard to know if it will have an impact on others (that red mist can be pretty strong) but generally i feel that it goes some way towards protecting players. And not that Zakuani will recover any time soon but I could see some sort of formula attached to these types of suspensions which allow guys like Mullan to come back early if indeed Zakuani comes back before the end of Mullan’s suspension.

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