Don’t say Clint Dempsey didn’t warn you.
He did, back in 2006:
Don’t wake a sleeping giant
Unless you wanna see him pissed
Though I’m quick on my feet
You ain’t seen the fist
It’d be a one hitter quitter
Then class dismissed
Best a think twice before you
Try and tread on this
So when referee Daniel Radford tried to tread on him in Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup fourth-round tie — by which I mean “give him a yellow card for dissent” — we saw Dempsey pissed, and he got dismissed, his name on the list, but here is the twist: he ripped up the referee’s notebook. (Sorry. Ran out of rhymes, yo.)
Now we wait to see what the soccer authorities are going to add to Deuce’s rap sheet. As @SamBorden pointed out on Twitter, messing with an official’s property is akin to referee assault, which in theory equals a three-month ban (see pages 35 through 38 of that handy set of guidelines).
Over to you, U.S. Soccer. Just how much time is Dempsey going to spend with his fishing rods in the coming weeks? Are you going to have your national team captain and a key MLS asset sit out the entire summer in a Gold Cup year for a transgression that happened in the Open Cup?
The 29-year-old referee’s performance stank like Pike Place Market, according to Seattle. Even head coach Sigi Schmid was “maybe going to choke a referee,” he said after the game. Any referee who came into his path; Sigi’s not fussy.
Seattle lost 3-1 to the Portland Timbers after extra time and ended the match with seven players because of this:
- Brad Evans – second yellow
- Micheal Azira – straight red for a bad tackle
- Dempsey – second yellow for arguing the call
- Obafemi Martins – injured after all three subs had been used
Dempsey appeared to knock the book out of the referee’s hand as the official was writing the striker’s name in it, then ripped it up. He was then red-carded, which bizarrely appeared to come as a surprise to the six-year-old. (Oh, actually it says here Dempsey is 32.)
He then attempted to get in Radford’s face but was shepherded away by teammates and walked off, clapping sarcastically in the assistant referee’s face.
All in all, a great night for the Open Cup. It’s getting widespread publicity, even on the BBC. If Dempsey going gangsta at Starfire Stadium is what it takes to make people aware that this tournament exists, then he’s done the nation a great service.
And Deuce will be OK in the end. As he tells us in 2014’s It’s Poppin: “I’m blessed, bitch. Amen.”