Dear MLS Disciplinary Committee (DisCo), you are, collectively, an idiot.
I say this as someone who loves the MLS game, but really, you're a blithering idiot. A total and complete moron. So far this season, you've suspended both D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen and Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath a game apiece for entering the field of play with the malicious intent of retrieving a wayward ball. It's an epic crime, I know, to try to keep the delays in your sometimes plodding matches to a minimum.
It's so heinous, in fact, that you punish it in exactly the same way you punish a serious foul, as you did with Chris Rolfe and Kekuta Manneh just last week. Dangerous play that could seriously injure a player is certainly on a level with taking two steps over the line to keep a second ball off the pitch, right?
I get the rule. Any player or staff member (excluding medical personnel) who enters the field of play is subject to a one-game suspension. I get the reason behind it. But there's a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and it's really not difficult to police. There is really no danger of someone mistaking Heath's intentions when he does this.
Is that really as bad as this?
Because, you see, the punishments are the same. So you, idiot that you are, must think they are equally serious violations of your precious laws of the game.
Sure, Heath should have known better, in the wake of the idiotic ruling on Olsen earlier in the season. But do you honestly think he remembered Olsen's suspension in the heat of managing a close game against a conference rival? It all happened so fast, his movement must have been largely out of reflex, rather than forethought.
Your zero tolerance policy is ludicrous. Let's say the New York City FC's medical staff was tending to an injured Frank Lampard (yeah, I know, but this is just a hypothetical here, so work with me) and Andrea Pirlo collapsed on the field (God forbid). Patrick Vieira might know CPR. Should he just stand there or should he rush to his player's aid? And if he did run out onto the field and revive the Italian maestro, would you then give him the standard one-game punishment? I'm guessing no, but you're such a freaking numbskull (again, collectively) that I wouldn't put it past you.
Earlier this season, Kevin Molino scored a dramatic late goal against New England. It was his first MLS goal in the run of play and should have provided the Lions with a game-winning tally -- if not for the actions of an even bigger idiot, referee Baldomero Toledo. The Citrus Bowl, as it was known then, exploded in delight. Orlando midfielder Antonio Nocerino was excited for his teammate, who had been snake bitten so many times before, that he took three steps onto the pitch to give Molino a hug.
Again, you, idiot that you are, suspended a player for a game. Wouldn't a small fine have sufficed? It was obvious that Nocerino, during a stoppage in play, wasn't confronting an opponent or doing anything dangerous or unsportsmanlike. It might not be the league's goal to encourage passion in its players, but should that passion be punished?
Your entering the pitch rules need to be given a serious overhaul in the off-season. There should be some common sense used when doling out punishments. Heath and Olsen should have gotten no punishment. Nocerino probably should have gotten a small fine, at worst. If someone enters the pitch during the run of play or does it to confront an opponent or incite an incident, you can bust out the ban hammer.
But maybe right now you should focus on punishing things like Sacha Kljestan's ridiculous and unsportsmanlike simulation last year that got Cyle Larin a bogus red card. You know, the one that was rescinded a few days after that 2-0 home loss.
In conclusion, I hope you go home tonight and think about this silly decision. Given your obvious disdain for rule breaking of any sort, I will just assume you'll immediately flog yourself when you get home if you accidentally press the accelerator down with too much force and accidentally drive two miles per hour over the speed limit.
A soccer fan