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Brian Mullan Shaken Over Tackle, Steve Zakuani Injury

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UPDATE 3: As you've probably heard, Steve Goff of the Washington Post is reporting that the ban will be 10 games, include a $5,000 fine (suspensions are with pay in MLS) and that Mullan is expected to appeal the ban. We've also received word from the MLS office that nothing will be announced until Thursday.

UPDATE 2: Brian Mullan apparently issued another statement, which I'm sure will not appease anyone hoping he would take real ownership of the tackle that caused Zakuani's injury: "It is with regret that my tackle resulted in the injury of Steve and I am deeply sorry to Steve and all those impacted by his injury."

UPDATE: Got word from MLS that the punishment is expected to be handed down on Wednesday.

When Brian Mullan first made his statements about having done such a tackle many times before it was a "non-apology apology" that seemed disingenuous. Seattle Sounders fans were quick to criticize not just Mullan, but Sigi Schmid for his statements supporting his former player. Today though we learn that Mullan is distraught over the tackle of Steve Zakuani and its resulting double fracture.

This shouldn't surprise, nor should it be doubted. Over time we all look back at mistakes we have made and ideally learn from them. In the heat of the moment, in the darkness of a loss that is their fault a player can have a very different attitude and framework than days later. The explosion of support for Zakuani from players, commentators and fans around MLS probably influenced Mullan's rethinking of his previous position.

While is his suspension is yet to be announced his time away from soccer may last much longer.

The Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee is expected to rule on any punishment for Mullan on Tuesday. Smith said he thinks a suspension of 2-3 games on top of the automatic suspension for Mullan’s red card would be appropriate, but given Mullan’s current state of mind, he may well be out for longer than any suspension.

"The guy is distraught about it," Smith said at training Tuesday, adding that Mullan is seeking counseling in the aftermath of the incident. "He is visibly shaken and there is no way he can train. I said to him to take some time off to try and come to terms with it, and I don’t think he is going to be ready for quite a while."

Taking Coach Smith at his words is both easy and right to do. The cynic would be tempted to call this an attempt to reduce the suspension. The cynic would be failing to recognize that any of us would change our mind, our position, over time.

Considering everything, regardless of the suspension I suspect that Brian Mullan will not be on the pitch with the Colorado Rapids for their match here in mid-summer.

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