MLS On Right Path With Retroactive Punishments, But Still Room For Improvement

The MLS Disciplinary Committee was busy this week, handing down four retroactive punishments for incidents that happened over the weekend. Jair Benitez (stray elbow), Brandon McDonald (late challenge) and Atiba Harris (forearm shiver) were all banned one game, while Danny Cruz (embellishment) was fined.

It's probably the busiest week in the committee's history, and it has raised a few eyebrows. In the case of Cruz and Benitez, the punishments resulted from the same play, curiously enough. There have also been questions about why other players, namely Osvaldo Alonso, have not been punished.

To all this, I simply say: At least we're heading in the right direction.

No, the committee is not beyond questioning. I, too, find it a little odd that Benitez can be suspended for throwing an elbow that missed Cruz by enough of a margin that he is being fined for embellishing the contact. I can also see why people would like to see Alonso suspended for any number of actions in Saturday's game against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Still, I'd rather see MLS take some action than none. There's no way that everyone is always going to agree with decisions like this, but I give MLS credit for taking this action despite knowing that there is ample room for second-guessing. Players need to be held accountable and sending the message that you can still be punished even after the fact is a good way to do it.

Especially in the cases of McDonald and Harris, the decisions were very clear. McDonald came in from behind and absurdly late, while Harris clearly decked Carlos Valdes in the back of the head.

The other part of the equation is, of course, on the officials. Hopefully, MLS is taking an equally close look at why these calls were missed.

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