Colorado Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush issued the following statement regarding the Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee’s decision to suspend Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan 10 matches for the tackle on Seattle Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani that resulted in the breaking of Zakuani’s right tibia and fibula.
‘First and foremost, on behalf of our entire organization and our supporters, I want to wish the very best to Steve Zakuani and send him heartfelt wishes for a full and speedy recovery from this injury. Brian Mullan has offered his public apology to Steve for the injury he sustained. As a person with a kind heart and respect and feelings towards his fellow teammates and opponents, Brian is genuinely distraught that his challenge caused this injury.
‘With respect to the decision by the Committee, we understand and accept their ruling that Brian’s tackle was ‘reckless’ and agree that further discipline was warranted above the automatic one match suspension that accompanies a red card.
‘However we strongly disagree that Brian’s tackle, although admittedly harsh by any account, should be punished more severely than premeditated acts in our League’s history.
‘Brian’s challenge was ill-timed and the result was unfortunate, but in no way does this event properly define the long and outstanding career that Brian has had. Brian has a proven track record on the field as an intense and talented player, one who has won a championship with every club he has been with and a player who brings tremendous human qualities to the locker room and training field on a daily basis. He has been, and will continue to be a player who respects his teammates and competitors alike. One incident should not, and will not, define the exemplary career that Brian Mullan has enjoyed in Major League Soccer.
‘Our organization has chosen the path of silence on this issue, both out of respect for the process and the people involved as well as to not promote public reaction. I am disappointed by the reaction of some segments of the soccer community that have attempted to portray Brian as anything other than a terrific person and competitor. The vitriol being displayed in social media, and the apparent sanctioning of it by those who could help in diffusing it, is counter-productive and only serves to undermine our League’s efforts to unify our soccer community.
‘Brian has made the decision not to appeal the imposed sanctions, and we support him in that decision. Our organization enthusiastically stands by Brian Mullan and I look forward to having him once again help us compete for a championship upon his return.’