Orlando City won’t be appealing Kaká’s red card he got for playfully face washing his friend Aurelien Collin Saturday night in the closing seconds of the club’s 3-1 loss at Red Bull Arena. But the club’s statement makes it clear that the Lions are not happy with the decision.
After much deliberation, which included conversations about the global attention this incident is receiving from fans and media alike, the Club will respect the decision made by the Video Assistant Referee, the Professional Referee Organization and Major League Soccer to avoid further unjustified consequences that may come from appealing the decision made on the field.
Though Orlando City SC fully supports MLS, PRO and the new Video Review system, the Club does not support the notion that Kaká — a role model known around the world for his upstanding character and demeanor— is guilty of violent conduct, defined as an attempt to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball. Moreover, we also do not believe he deliberately “struck” an opponent or any other person on the head or face with his hand or arm during the match.
Whether the red would have been rescinded or not is anyone’s guess, and the primary reason Orlando City isn’t appealing. It’s doubtful Major League Soccer would want its video review system challenged so early in its infancy and a unanimous decision is required to overturn the play, anyway.
It’s the strong wording used in the club’s statement that stands out:
It’s notable that the statement says “to avoid further unjustified consequences.” The obvious statement here is that the original consequences were unjustified. While Jorge Gonzalez may have been within his right to punish to the full extent of the law, the spirit of the law and reasons for its very existence were never in question, which was on full display for all to see on Saturday.
Let’s face it, if that was violence, then players shouldn’t be allowed to clap opponents on the back after a game. What the Brazilian did amounted to mussing someone’s hair — although Aurelien Collin has none. It was done with approximately the same amount of force. To call it a violent act is patently absurd and it was certainly not perceived that way to either party involved.
This isn’t even opinion. It’s simple fact. The definition of “strike” is to hit forcibly and deliberately. It was deliberate. It was with the hand. It wasn’t a forcible hit.
The Lions will go into a crucial Eastern Conference game on Saturday without their captain and best play maker. It’s fair to criticize Kaká’s consistency this season — and in many instances, the quality he’s brought to the field. Saturday night at New York wasn’t like that. The Brazilian worked as hard as anyone and the fact he wanted to get a result from that match was evident in how he comported himself during the game — an assist, a good work rate, jump in his legs that we’ve not seen much this year, and creativity like this:
Other Lions will be forced to step up. We may see the debut of Dillon Powers to go along with Yoshimar Yotun in the midfield. Dom Dwyer is expected back from his nose surgery. But without Kaká and the injured Jonathan Spector, leadership will fall squarely to the likes of Will Johnson and Antonio Nocerino.