The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced today that it has suspended Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry for one game and fined the French Designated Player an undisclosed amount “for violent conduct which endangered the safety of Kansas City forward Kei Kamara” during stoppage time of Wednesday night’s pivotal Eastern Conference game at Red Bull Arena.
This action is dubious for (at least) two reasons:
1. If they’ve decided that Henry intentionally head-butted Kamara—which they must have, or else why suspend him—then doesn’t a head butt warrant more than a one-game suspension?
2. The Red Bulls’ next match is on Saturday night at New England, where the field is artificial turf. Henry is well-known for not liking to play on artificial surfaces—he’s done it just once in his MLS career so far—and chances are he would have skipped Saturday’s game anyway.
Did MLS just compromise with one of its biggest superstars? How much longer would the suspension have been if Kamara had been cut by Henry’s fake accident?
The league hasn’t posted video of the incident to YouTube, but you can see a clip of it here.
Several things to note:
• The first thing Henry does after collapsing melodramatically is to grab the back of his head. Pretty flimsy: the video clearly shows that he hit Kamara with his forehead.
• Check the reverse-angle replay of the incident. Why is Henry even starting his run at this point? Teammate Sebastien Le Toux is going to take a corner kick, but he’s not ready to do it yet—he’s not even close.
• There have to be better, and more subtle, ways to get a dig in at an opponent, right? This is just weird, and, his ludicrous pantomime aside, Henry did run the risk of hurting himself as much as Kamara.
Sigh. He’s a great player, but an odd duck.