Tim Howard says that there’s (mostly) no one to blame for his suspension but himself, although he’d like you (and Major League Soccer and just about everyone else) to know that he thinks security at Major League Soccer stadiums could use some attention.
Last week, as Fox Sports reported at the time, the Colorado Rapids goalkeeper was caught having a heated altercation with a fan earlier this month during a match in Kansas City. You can watch the incident below, but be warned: the video embedded below contains profanity (to put it mildly).
— noe (@nmedrano_17) April 10, 2017
It’s not clear (to this writer, anyway) what Tim actually said (and if you, the reader, can figure out, please say so in the comments below). Although as of this writing there is no video evidence to back it up, Fox reports that other fans on social media also accused Howard of flipping the bird, so to speak, to the crowd, as well as getting into other altercations with fans, during and after that loss in Kansas City. One report went so far as to accuse Howard of grabbing a fan’s arm at some point.
To his bosses at Major League Soccer, it was enough to get him suspended for three games – a decision that was handed down last week.
Tim’s Take On The Incident
Howard, for his part, owned up to his responsibility for the incident – up to a point, that is – in a statement made available via Fox Sports.
“While I regret my reaction and understand the need to take action on their part, I am surprised and concerned that the full context of the incident wasn’t considered and responsibility wasn’t shared.”
— Last Word on Soccer (@LastWordSC) April 24, 2017
If you’re wondering what Tim is talking about, he makes it clear later in his statement that he has some concerns about security at Children’s Mercy Park (where Sporting KC plays its home games).
“It is not ok for an apparently drunk fan to get inches away from an athlete’s face and yell obscenities at them… I want to make it clear that I have never been put into a situation like that until Kansas City. I’m not a security expert, so don’t know the details of how a fan could get so close, but it was not the norm and not right.”
The MLS Players’ Union Sees Tim’s Point
As far as Tim Howard’s union – the Major League Soccer Player’s Union – sees it, Tim has a point. In their own statement, made available via Fox Sports, the Union insisted that MLS needs to be better at policing fan behavior.
“MLS has a detailed Fan Code of Conduct in place under which fans are expected to be respectful to each other and to players, and are prohibited from engaging in disorderly behavior, including obscene or abusive language. The fans involved repeatedly, routinely and openly violated that Code of Conduct, without any repercussions. It is thus not surprising there was a reaction from the player.”
Similarly, Tim’s colleagues on the field at MLS appear to be on his side, somewhat. Real Salt Lake’s Yura Movsisyan, according to Last Word on Soccer, says he, too, thinks the fans need to be policed a little better.
“It’s actually kind of funny that a player gets suspended and nothing happens to the fans when the fans were provocating [sic] everything.”
So far, Tim Howard has served two games of his three-game suspension. His final missed game will be April 29 at Orlando City; when the Rapids take the pitch again on May 5 against Vancouver, Howard is expected to be in uniform again.
[Featured Image by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]