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How long should Mullan be suspended?

Brian Mullan (GettyImages) 

Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan's reckless tackle of Seattle winger Steve Zakuani was the talk of the weekend in MLS, with Zakuani sidelined with a broken leg and Mullan facing a stiff suspension.

There has been plenty of talk about what sort of punishment Mullan should receive. Some believe it should only merit the usual suspension for a red card, while plenty feel a harsh punishment (some believing a season-long suspension) is justified.

We should find out during the week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, just how long Mullan will be suspended for, but you can cast your vote on Mullan's punishment here.

How long do you think Mullan should be suspended? Cast your vote after the jump:



How did you vote? Think a full season suspension is justified? Not one of the people who think Mullan's tackle was horrific and worthy of a long suspension?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I was referring to intent. Rico did it after the fact in an obvious way meant to inflict pain. Mullan was during play, while trying to win the ball. Street fight vs sanctioned boxing.

  2. Mullan’s crime warrants a dual orchiectomy. Nothing else will get his attention, as he made clear with his unbelievably galling and callous comments about the challenge after the game.

  3. He should be suspended 1 game for every person who almost vomited after watching the tackle. The audio doesn’t help either.

    Mullan didn’t mean to break Zakuani’s leg in half, but he did mean to hurt him by going in recklessly.

    Anger Management 101.

  4. While I understand your point, the fact is he did break his leg. Another point is that it was not simply in the run of play. He was upset about not getting a call, so he took it out on the first guy he could hit. That’s not professional, so why should we treat him as a professional.

    As to your point, if I fire a gun in the air wildly and it falls to the ground, I would get some minor punishment from the law. If that bullet actually hits someone, the charge increases dramatically. I’m not saying your wrong and I’m right…just wanted to toss this in.

    If we did suspend people for wreckless tackles, and suspend them for the lenth of the injury, then I’m sure we would see fewer wreckless tackles. Now, I’m not talking about injuries that occer from normal, or even hard tackles. Mullen’s tackles was totally wreckless.

  5. The poll does not appear to be tabulating correctly, as it only totals 97%. With five choices and rounding at the outer limits, I get to 99% and not 100%. You may want to check and make sure it is working correctly.

  6. SBI, or anyone with knowledge of such things… what is the likelihood that the Player’s Union will impose some sort of punishment for the act like the European players do?

    As far as I know the players here have never held each other accountable in the way that their European counterparts have. Might not this be an opportunity for the players then, in addition to the League, to make a statement decision by similarly creating a new precedent?

  7. I hate to be defending Mullan on what was surely a bad tackle, but I personally think people are way overreacting. I’ve seen much worse tackles. I think 5 games is fine. I could even maybe see a justification for 6-7 games. But people calling for 10+ games are nuts. Ricardo Clark wound up and kicked a player on the ground intending to hurt him and got 9 games. Mullan was reckless for sure, but reckless conduct doesn’t deserve a harsher punishment than purposeful conduct. (I have a REAL problem with the argument that this suspension should be longer because Zakuani was hurt badly while Ruiz wasn’t. The extent of an injury depends on so many other things besides what can actually be considered the conduct of the player committing the foul. The extent of the injury can be used as circumstantial evidence reflecting how bad the conduct was, but certainly should NOT be dispositive of that question for reckless or negligent acts. [For purposeful conduct, I think you could make a strong case that the extent of the injury should be a major factor in sanctioning, but that’s a separate issue.])

  8. Nice try, but your argument is erroneous. Analogies to tort law are inapplicable here, and so the eggshell skull rule is completely irrelevant. Tort claims are brought by the victim against the tortfeasor. But Zakuani is not bringing a claim against Mullan here – he’s going to be punished by the league regardless. This matters because doctrines of tort law like the eggshell skull rule relate primarily to the question of damages. It makes sense to take the victim as you find him in tort law because tort law provides equitable remedies, and the relevant question is who should bear the burden of the victim’s condition. In tort law the common principle is that the tortfeasor bears the risk, and should compensate the victim through whatever damages are necessary to make him whole, regardless of whether that seems proportional to the conduct. But Mullan’s suspension isn’t going to compensate Zakuani. No amount of missed games is going to bring Zakuani back to his pre-tackle condition. Rather, the league is going to punish Mullan, as the state punishes criminals. Tort law has little to no bearing here, so you’ve provided nothing to support the idea that the punishment should be based on the damage suffered. I’m not saying that no such arguments exist, but this definitely isn’t one of them.

  9. Is the “obvious difference” that Clark didn’t injure someone so severely that they will miss the rest of the year and possibly never recover? Because that’s one huge difference. Did Ruiz even miss a game from being kicked in the shoulder by Clark? He certainly didn’t break any bones, you know, like leg bones that are necessary for professional soccer players.


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