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Thierry Henry fined, not suspended for incident

New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry has been fined $2,000 by MLS for his involvement in an incident last Thursday that is likely to sideline FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for several weeks.

The league's disciplinary committee determined that Henry's action was "unsporting," but declined to suspend him. After the Red Bulls had drawn even just before halftime, Hartman was about to tap the ball with his right foot and prepare for the restart when Henry attempted to smash it back into the net. Though Henry didn't make direct contact with Hartman's knee, the force of his effort on the ball as the keeper touched it with his foot resulted in the injury. Watch the video here.

Hartman wasn't immediately available to comment, but his agent, Ron Waxman, was furious.

"The members of the disciplinary committee should be embarrassed and ashamed," he told the Insider. "It's either no punishment or there must be a suspension. I'm sorry to discover that they've established a double standard for the treatment of their marquee players as opposed to the treatment of their rank and file."

Waxman suggested that MLS's decision not to suspend Henry was impacted by the fact that the Red Bulls' next match is a high-profile, nationally televised encounter against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Friday night.

"I hope the committee members can look themselves in the mirror at halftime of that game while Kevin Hartman, who was having a much better year than Henry, sits at home recovering from an injury at the hands of a reckless action, which is going virtually unpunished." (Henry, who joined New York midseason, is guaranteed about $466,000 per month.)

Waxman also took issue with MLS's description of the play -- that Hartman "stepped into the path of the ball." The video replay shows Hartman standing at the ball as Henry approaches.

"Trying to weasel out of suspending Henry by stating that Kevin 'stepped into the path of the ball' is shameful. He didn't step into the path, and Henry took a long run-up to the ball well after the goal was scored."

Hyperbole aside, Waxman makes good points about Hartman's positioning and the timing of Henry's action. Although Henry wasn't intending to injure Hartman, he should have been suspended at least one game for his recklessness and stupidity. He saw Hartman approaching the ball, so why bother to attempt such a pointless act while play was stopped?

By Steve Goff  | September 20, 2010; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  | Tags:  MLS  
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Comments

It is probably a double-standard but I am a 100 % fine with it. I want to see the best players play in the biggest regular season game of the yr. Unless Henry did something outrageous, which this wasn't, it was more of a fluke, and both are partially to blame, then I am cool with just a fine.

Morally I am probably wrong but I am willing to admit it because I am pumped for this game.

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 20, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

If stupidity were grounds for suspension, DCU would've forfeited the season.

But I thought it should be a game...just a dumb, dumb play.

Posted by: Reignking | September 20, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's a double standard. And frankly, I don't care -- as a United fan I'm used to United coming up on the short side of the stick with officiating. It's kind of funny when it happens to someone else.

Posted by: Curious99 | September 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Just "follow the money." Waxman is correct. Though MLS could have been more sophisticated by suspending Henry for a game, have Henry appeal, and come to a final decision after the LA/NY game.

Personally I've always preferred a system that would have the offending party suspended for the length of the offended party's time on the injured list. Or at least, have the offending party fined the amount he would have earned during that time.

Posted by: DaninFL | September 20, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

bravo to Waxman for calling the League out on this bs. if it was the other way around, and Henry had been kicked/injured, you can bet Hartman would be suspended a few games.

also, $2,000 has to be a record fine for MLS. aren't they usually around $800?

Posted by: VTUnited | September 20, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on. It was an absurd incident and should have resulted in a game suspension. If the league has so lost its integrity, then we are in trouble.

Posted by: KRIKET | September 20, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't MLS at least suspend Henry for one match, then suspend the suspension while he appeals so that he can play against LA, and then re-suspend him after that?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 20, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't MLS at least suspend Henry for one match, then suspend the suspension while he appeals so that he can play against LA, and then re-suspend him after that?

Posted by: I-270Exit1

I don't believe the MLS players union collectively bargained appeals of suspensions into their CBA.

I also believe Fat Zach Thornton should be suspended for all the times he attacked Jaime Moreno for retrieving the ball from the net after a penalty.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | September 20, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I'd think that Kevin Payne should be fired because Kevin Hartman got hurt.

Posted by: rockotodd | September 20, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

of course it is idiotic. "unsporting" should mean a caution under the LotG. Which should men his second of that match and an automatic suspension. His agent is right to be furious.

Just another thing that makes MLS look like a complete Mickey Mouse operation with no real credibility.

Posted by: fedssocr | September 20, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Or at least, have the offending party fined the amount he would have earned during that time.

This is interesting. So if, say, Mike Banner knocked out, say, Thierry Henry for a month, Banner would have to forgo a little over 11 years worth of salary. Ouch.

Posted by: BooThisMan | September 20, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

My only question is why does Hartman have more of a right to the ball then Henry? To counter Goff, Hartman saw Henry coming so why stick is foot there?

Also, would this even been an issue if Hartman didn't get injured? Is getting injured going to be the grounds to decide if someone should be punished or not? If Hartman didn't get injured we all would have laughed it off as a funny incident and no one would be calling for a suspension.

Still I don't care, I want to see Henry play LA.

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 20, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Waxman is spot on.

The incident exposes MLS as a Mickey Mouse league that will enforce different rules for different castes of players.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 20, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

@rockotodd,

If that's what it takes, fine by me.

@grubbsbl,

You usually make a lot of sense, but you lost it on that one. Hartman's trying to put the ball in play, which he has a right to do. Henry's trying to showboat. And IIRC from the video, Hartman never saw Henry coming.

Posted by: benonthehill | September 20, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Henry, two thousand dollars... yeah, you need the word "tip" to complete this sentence.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | September 20, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but the agent is just yakking. Henry should have been given a yellow card for that--it wasn't violent conduct so it couldn't have been a straight red, but I think it would have been his second yellow, so he would have a red. Don't understand enough about MLS' treatment of reds and whether Henry would then lose a game. But the incident itself was not deserving of a direct red card, or a suspension.

It is really too bad that Hartman got hurt, and if MLS wants to add a standard for suspension that isn't warranted by the play on the field, but just because an injury results, they can do that. But it would establish a slippery slope for suspensions not tied to fouls. Again, the play by Henry only warrants a yellow,not a red.

Posted by: macheath | September 20, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Uh, LA plays NY this weekend. You really think the Beckham, Henry, Donovan, etc made for marketing love fest is going to be ruined by some unknown keeper?

MLS is touting this as "5 designated players in one night!"

Posted by: delantero | September 21, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Ohhh la la... The 5 DP's in one night come on again... Don't forget your wetnaps...

Posted by: DadRyan | September 21, 2010 5:25 AM | Report abuse

If it had been Morsink, or another league grunt, there certainly would have been a suspension. Too bad the ref didn't take proper action to award 2nd yellow, therefore causing suspension automatically. Of course the league is going to write their own rules to benefit the marketing (single-entitiness) of the still young/growing league.

I've watched the video a few times, and just can't understand what Henry was thinking! Bonehead!!

Posted by: beergorila | September 21, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I am, frankly, disgusted by the posters who have no problem with there being a double-standard for marquee players. If you don't see serious recklessness and endangering another player for sheer grandstanding, well, we can agree to disagree. But if you really truly think that it's OK for a player not to suffer the consequences of his actions because he has greater star power... that's repellent.

Posted by: janspoor | September 21, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

why should he have been suspended? Because he kicked the ball or because somebody got hurt?

The penalty for kicking the ball is pretty clear...yellow for delaying restart. Do we start handing out suspensions for every foul in which somebody is injured?

What about the opposing situation. If a player takes a swing at an opponent and misses do we stop handing out red cards for violent conduct.

Surely in 14 years this isn't the first time a player has injured an opponent with no intent in a situations like this...has anyone been suspended for anything similar?

Posted by: teo_68 | September 21, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course he should have been suspended a game, if only because it was a stupid play that resulted in a serious injury; but delay the announcement until after the coming match and suspend him for the next one. There's no way Hartman was at fault whatsoever, that's just BS.

As for MLS being a mickey mouse league; I think it shows just the opposite. Like the italian, english or spanish leagues would suspend a top player just prior to big game. They'd figure out a way to punish the guy but still insure ratings.

Posted by: hacksaw | September 21, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Henry injured, out for the match, anyway.

Posted by: Reignking | September 21, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Good points, teo_68.

I'm OK with this. I don't think a suspension would have been the right punishment for any player. So there's no double standard. Same goes for the size of the fine. $2k is peanuts for Henry, but about right for most players in the league. Fining Henry more because he's rich would be a double standard too.

One way to get around that problem would be to establish an agreed-upon table or formula that determines the amounts of fines according to player salaries. This may already exist, for all I know.

Posted by: WorldCup | September 21, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hristo Stoichkov was suspened two games and fined $2000 for breaking a kid's leg in a friendly. He was given a red card, though.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | September 21, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Having watched the game and re played the incident a few times when it happened. I completely disagree that Henry should be suspended. It was clear he was trying to smash ball. Hartman saw it and put his foot out, to give the appearance of an injury. Hoping to draw a red as his team had been down a man for while at that point. He has tried to milk stuff on many occassions. This time he got hurt. My wife and I were both laughing because he might have been hurt for his gamesmanship attempt. If he hadn't been acting like a jack @ss he wouldn't be hurt.

Posted by: m20001 | September 22, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Henry is a punk

Posted by: GeneWells | September 22, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

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