MLS- New York Red Bulls

Did Thierry Henry get away with an intentional headbutt?

ThierryHenryPOW (Getty)

It was a play that barely registered a ripple on Wednesday night, except for the fact that several Sporting Kansas City players came away angry, insisting that New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry had gotten away with a pretty dirty play.

As Sporting KC's 2-0 victory headed toward stoppage time, and with most players standing around after a substitution, Henry ran up toward Kei Kamara and aimed his head at the side of Kamara's head, making contact that sent both players to the ground.

The play incensed Sporting KC, which surely remembered Henry's antics during a Red Bulls loss in Kansas City last year when he crashed into Roger Espinoza off the ball and earned a red card. On that play Henry tried pleading his innocence too but was still sent off.

Henry is known for his fiery temper, and for losing his cool at times. There were reports last year of Henry injuring former Red Bull Mike Jones with a dirty tackle after losing his temper during a training session.

The real question is whether MLS will look at Wednesday's incident and consider serious punishment for a play that looked to be intentional.

If you missed Henry's clash of heads with Kamara, here are some video clips (albeit grainy ones) of the incident:


And in case you don't remember it, here was Henry's red card against Sporting Kansas City last year:


As of Friday, MLS had made no mention of the incident, which would seem to suggest Henry will play for the Red Bulls on Saturday against New England (Henry has skipped previous trips to play on the turf at Gillette Stadium, but with the Red Bulls chasing a high playoff seed it was expected that he would play on Saturday).

If MLS does look at the play, and deem it intentional, Henry would likely be facing a multi-game suspension during a crucial point in the season.

What do you think of the incident? Believe it was just an accident, or do you think Henry intentionally headbutted Kamara? See the league stepping in with some punishment? Think Henry is innocent? If not, how many games do you think he should be suspended?

Share your thoughts below.

  • kpugs

    If that was intentional it was super, super weak, making Henry a puss for doing it and Kamara a whiny little baby for crying about it. Worst case scenario is that both of them are, at best, weak pusses.

    Where can we lay down a bet on Henry playing on Saturday? Obviously I want him to play but my gut tells me his turf allergy will be acting up again.


  • Dave

    He did get away with it. Got lucky. I know he’s more often pissed with his team than happy with it. But the headbutt, the blasting through Espinoza, and the playground-whiny yank of the ball from Jimmy Nielsen to try to play a free kick quickly…

    … it’s dumb and bush-league from a guy like Henry. He is better than this. I’m still not sure how/why NYRB got him–they aren’t ready for his talent, even though he’s in his mid-30s.


  • Bob

    Boosted…why was Henry making a run w/ LeToux yards off ball w/ hands on hips? Looked intentional live and on replay. 😦


  • Aguinaga

    Henry made a run on goal, possibly to read the defense’s reaction, and ran into Kamara. Was there an intent to hurt him? Absolutely not, I think if Henry wanted to hurt anyone he’d do it. Innocent until proven guilty, this is a democracy my fellow citizens.

    “Liberty, in case you’ve forgotten, is a soul’s right to breathe. When it cannot take a long breath, laws are girded too tight. Without liberty, man is a syncope.” 🙂


  • Mathew

    I felt as though Henry initiated contact with Kamara to make it look as though Kamara headbutted him with hope of getting Kamara sent off. Then, appeared as though Kamara made most of contact that Henry intentionally initiated with hope of getting Henry sent off….


  • k

    Henry is a punk and a cheat, always has been and always will be. It was intentional but the league will do nothing because it will always protect it’s big stars and the teams it wants to win the cup: NY and LA.


  • Josh

    Should be added that this came during a substitution stoppage when the ball was dead. Definitely a cheap shot. Henry lost a lot of what respect he had left last night.


  • Dan

    Not a KC or NY fan.

    I don’t see anything besides Henry making a run and bumping into someone. I’ve looked a few times now.

    Very very very bad “evidence” if someone were trying to show intent, or even to show what really happened. Poor angle/quality, etc.


  • olysounder

    Well Mr. Hunting–this isn’t a criminal case so your quote is inapt. Major League soccer gets to decide whether there was intent without reference to any “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof. And in this case, I would either have to believe that Henry had intent or that he is a clumsy oaf. And by a clear preponderance of the evidence, this looks like intent to me.


  • Mouf

    Well, it’s pretty hard to see Kamara directly in front of you, for multiple steps, he’s only 6’2″ and has spikey hair, and Henry just happens to jump into his head at the exact moment.

    I don’t know what he was trying to do, but it was intentional. Lets just settle it with a cage fight with Espinoza.

    He should be punished, but he will not be. SKC plays rough, gets cards etc, but this is just cheap, dirty stuff


  • Rowsdower

    making a run while play is stopped and steps up into Kei.. yeah, not intentionally at all. Should have unintentional ran into Collin.


  • RLW2020

    what is it with the French and their Heatbuts??!!

    honestly he looks like just has no idea where he is going and then pow! drove into a wall! he is either doing it intentionally (and acting stupid afterwards) or just running around like a drunk driver; either way he should be reprimanded..


  • DrunkHenry

    Henry was playing drunk which explains poor finishing and running into stationary individuals headfirst. Or he’s an asshat. Or both.


  • Ryan

    What you say may be true but his reputation is what does him in. If he didn’t have a history of being a dirty players, then I would say it might have been innocent. Given the fact that he has a history of these things, he gets a certain label. That may not seem fair, but he chooses his actions and has to deal with the consequences they bring. Just like Joey Barton, what may be accidental will be seen as intentional.

    Personally, I 100% believe he did it on purpose. I lost respect for him long ago because of things like this (or the infamous handball).


  • bigprof

    why shouldnt henry get away with a headbutt on kamara? c’mon, kei looks like he’s asking for it.


  • ManicMessiah

    If Collins doesn’t get suspended for his repeated flailing elbows, I can’t believe there are people talking about whether Henry deserves to be suspended.


  • JJ

    It’s doubtful he would have played v New England anyway on their turf field. No real loss for NY on this one.


  • Eric


    Henry is suspended for just one game–a game that he probably wasn’t going to play in anyways because of the turf at Gillette Stadium. If you’re going to suspend a guy, it’s supposed to hurt his team…Henry should have been suspended for two games in this case.

    And MLS Disciplinary Committee proves once more that it’s totally in the bag for teams with big stars (see also: the one-game slap on the wrist given to David Beckham)


  • TomG

    Tough to tell from the video, but that type of buffoonery is certainly in Henry’s repertoire. Such a great player – I have no idea why he resorts to such idiocy on the pitch.


  • AC

    Dirty play, albeit even though inconclusive with the grainy video….And both players play acting pretty well….Dirty side of soccer…


  • Dan

    Watched it yet again after the suspension.
    (not a KC or NY fan)

    Still can’t really tell what happens because the quality and angle are poor.

    I guess he’s suspended for intentionally running into another player? But I would guess only 1 game because they can’t really tell anything else from the video (head butt, etc)


  • soccerhorn

    Well done Mr. Olysounder, and though by the look of your username, your club allegiance is dubious, I’d have to agree. Further – the suggestion that Henry would insist on getting caught should he choose to hurt someone is preposterous, not only in terms of professional soccer, but in terms of Mr. Henry himself. Witness the blatant handball against Ireland that put an underserving French side into the 2010 World Cup. Mr. Henry is a proven cheat, and no amount of hyperbole can disguise that.


  • Jim

    There is NOTHING on that replay from any angle to justify a suspension. Zero. You can’t even see any contact! Anyone who says different has an agenda.
    You can make all the arguments you want about why he’s making that run, or his deserved reputation. But again: You can’t see the contact. It’s not on either of those videos, and it’s not on the official MLS replay either. Really hope this is based on Ref or assistant testimony, and not on those views.

    (SBI-Jim, you are being delusional.)


  • Cairo

    Of course it was intentional. No way one of the best players of his generation is that clumsy and unaware of the space of the field. my 2 yr old, maybe, but frickin Thierry Henry? He’s a di.. But the league needs bad guys and he certainly qualifies. Personally, I’d rather have lenhart, and I am a Saunders fan!


  • Dustin

    It still amazes me that people say that the first red card Henry got for ramming a knee into Epinozas back was wrong. You’re just stupid if you think that a professional athlete would be that out of control with his movements. He’s trying to disguise hurting an opponent. He’s smart, but mean and is hurting this league with his antics.


  • Chris

    Direct link to the video from MLS. at 9-10 seconds, you can see Henry cross by Kamara and his head moves to the side slightly. No doubt it was intentional.

    Also, if you watch past that part, you can see that they weren’t even close to putting the ball in play and Henry is making a run into the box. He knew exactly what he was doing.

    [video src="http://serve.castfire.com/video/1174572/1174572_2012-09-21-130612.640hq.mp4" /]

    That Cahill immediately goes to restrain someone means that he saw it too and knew Henry meant to do it.


  • hartley

    Henry knows exactly what he is doing. There is always intent. He should be suspended for the rest of the season and not allowed to go on loan to anyone during the off season.


  • Stephen

    First off, this is not a democracy. Secondly, not all democracy’s have a rule of law that sets out innocence prior to proof of guilt.


  • TonyT

    That guy has no class, straight up dirty player. Just wants to go around the field taking out players and then act like it was a total accident, give me a break, this guy has soccer talent but is by no means a role model. I still remember him also taking out Hartman from FC Dallas for several weeks. Here is a replay of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk0LVI-vR5s


  • stmilli

    Who makes a run during a substitution though? Also can you see someone thats as great of an athlete as Henry not being aware enough of his surroundings that he runs his head into an object that is not moving by accident?


  • Matt

    Wow, is this really the best quality video available? Isn’t this supposed to be a professional league….I would assume a top soccer writer would have access to best footage….maybe a bad assumption.


  • J

    I wish the MLS Discipline Committee would take a fair look at all matches. Only a few weeks ago, KC players were throwing elbows like we throw fists in NJ and there were no reprecussions. Stay classy Wiz.


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