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Clint Dempsey could see long suspension for ‘assault’ on referee

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As the whole world now knows, in last night's US Open Cup game where the 7-man Seattle Sounders lost to the Portland Timbers, Clint Dempsey tore up the referee's book earning him a red card and an early trip to the locker room.

The red card would mean he's suspended for the Sounders next US Open Cup game, which now won't occur until 2016. But while the hilarity of this incident isn't lost on anybody, apparently this alleged act violated USSF policy, which could carry with it a hefty suspension.

According to the rules listed above, what Dempsey did was an act of assault on the referee. In the video posted above you can see Dempsey go to back of referee Daniel Radford, grab something out from a pocket, and throw it to the ground. That act earned him his first yellow. The picking up and ripping of that object, which is believed to be the referee's log book, earned him his second yellow and his ejection. But unless the referee handed the book to the US Captain, which seems unlikely, then Dempsey took it from the referee and then tore it up. This act violates that part of the rule which states: "damaging the referee's uniform or personal property."

Based on this, USSF could come down hard on Dempsey, with at least a three month suspension. Keep in mind, this is a US Soccer suspension which normally would not carry over to MLS, who would have to suspend the forward separately according to their own rules. Instead the suspension by USSF would limit Dempsey's ability to play in US Open Cup games or International competitions including the upcoming Gold Cup.

The repercussions of this incident have the potential for pretty damning ramifications for Clint Dempsey, the Seattle Sounders, and the United States Men's National Team.

UPDATE: USSF is taking a look and should act swiftly on any punishment doled to Dempsey.

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