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Referee union found Sigi Schmid's 'choke a ref' comment 'despicable'

Union issues statement a full week after incident, an apparent confirmation that Schmid will not face discipline from MLS for his statements.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

You remember last Tuesday, right? Big game? Bunch of red cards? A dude ripped the referee's logbook into shreds? Everyone was talking about it for like three days. It was kinda nuts. Anyway, in all the madness surrounding the game, you may have missed Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid saying he was "maybe going to choke a referee" if he hadn't headed down the sideline.

Anyway, Schmid kinda apologized, at least inasmuch as he said he wished he wouldn't have said what he said. But Schmid was also back on the sideline Saturday, coaching the Sounders as if nothing had happened. Water under the bridge, at least as far as the Sounders seemed to be concerned.  No discipline had been issued by USSF or MLS, and none was expected at this point.

But oh no, the Professional Soccer Referee Assocation -- the refs' union -- is having none of that. They have a bone and they aren't letting go until all the meat is off. A full week after the incident, they issued this statement, apparently direct to ESPN's Jeffrey Carlisle, who is the only one reporting it.

Here is their statement for those who can't read it embedded:

No discipline by MLS for Sigi Schmid for comment in post game interview last week that it was worst referee performance ever and he watched end of game from sidelines because he was "maybe going to choke a referee."

The failure of MLS to discipline a coach for his blatant public criticism and endorsement of violence toward a referee is despicable and highlights the immaturity of MLS as a professional sports league.

Maybe they have point. That Schmid was allowed to kinda threaten a referee -- even if in a hypothetical sense -- and not suffer any kind of punishment, it makes some sense that they'd be upset. But is this really the best way to go about it, especially given that they had already made similarly partisan comments about Clint Dempsey's suspension last week? Aren't referees supposed to be impartial and at least be giving the impression that they are going to judge everyone fairly? Won't this add fuel to the perception that referees already have biases?

Of course, this is not the refs making a statement. It's their union. This is what unions do, they stick up for their members. And this union already looked kinda feckless, what with the way PRO bossed them in last year's labor negotiations. So maybe they felt like they had to come out guns blazing on this. But couldn't they have done it on Friday, alongside the Dempsey comments? Oh well, at least they let us keep this story going.

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