The Professional Soccer Referees Assocation, the union for MLS and USL referees released a statement today announcing their displeasure with the "light slap on the wrist" given to Clint Dempsey. Going so far as to say that Deuce is threatening the integrity of the game,
I think they misspelled Daniel Radford, and this sends a message to players that they can attack refs.
The statement appears to suggest as well that Dempsey not just ripped the logbook, as we all have by now hilariously watched, but threatened the referee. If the PSRA is to be believed, this could have constituted both a referee assault and referee abuse. I would be inclined to believe the PSRA that the referee probably felt threatened by the situation but not to the severity as the association makes it seem.
The PSRA, the union that represents MLS & USL referees, is none too pleased with Dempsey's suspension. pic.twitter.com/KSJk62qrIE— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) June 19, 2015
PSRA's statement reads:
PSRA is deeply disappointed with the decision of MLS to give Mr. Dempsey a light slap on the wrist by suspending him for a mere three games following a report of both referee assault and abuse as those terms are defined under applicable policies. This type of conduct toward any Referee is a direct threat to the integrity of the game, and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. The ceremonial discipline issued by MLS not only fails to deter such reprehensible conduct going forward, it conveys the message that a player can physically engage, destroy property and threaten a Referee and suffer minimum consequences. In late 2014 MLS was moving in the right direction in their response to referee assaults. Unfortunately, this is a serious step backwards. Referee safety is an important issue at all levels of the game and MLS should have used its high profile position to lead rather than regress.
It is unclear whether PSRA sought a 6-match suspension, 9-match suspension (for assault and abuse), or something even lengthier. Whether his suspension is purely lip service, or whether the incident was not as bad as the PSRA makes it out to be, will be discussed ad nauseam this weekend. One thing that will be interesting to see is how to refs react this weekend to players getting in their personal space. Will they be quick to card the first player who gets in their face, or will they let it go?