Following his three-match ban in MLS for tearing up the referee’s notebook during a U.S. Open Cup match, Clint Dempsey has now been banned from the U.S. Open Cup itself for two years or six matches, whichever is greater. Shortly after this punishment was announced, Dempsey tweeted a rather unconvincing apology.
That tweet reads like the equivalent to a kid who was dragged by his ear and forced to mumble an apology to the neighbor whose house he egged after the neighbor kept his ball when it rolled onto their yard. The brevity of it also leaves it open to interpretation. Is he sorry he treated the incompetent referee the way he did or is he sorry that he stopped when he did instead of tearing up the guy’s clothes, cards, and passport too? Probably the latter.
Dempsey now gets to skip three MLS matches and go fishing before playing in the Gold Cup and he doesn’t have to play in the U.S. Open Cup for 2+ years. These punishments are like winning the lottery for him. Don’t be surprised if more players try to tear up the referee’s stuff during U.S. Open Cup matches just so they can get a little in-season vacation time, too. If anything, they should have punished him by making him play more U.S. Open Cup matches.