Colorado Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush issued the following statement regarding the Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committeeâ€™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 Zakuaniâ€™s right tibia and fibula.
â€˜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.
â€˜With respect to the decision by the Committee, we understand and accept their ruling that Brianâ€™s tackle was â€˜recklessâ€™ and agree that further discipline was warranted above the automatic one match suspension that accompanies a red card.
â€˜However we strongly disagree that Brianâ€™s tackle, although admittedly harsh by any account, should be punished more severely than premeditated acts in our Leagueâ€™s history.
â€˜Brianâ€™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.
â€˜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 Leagueâ€™s efforts to unify our soccer community.
â€˜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.â€™