Three Toronto FC Players Arrested in Nightclub Altercation
Miguel Aceval, Nick Soolsma and Luis Silva were all arrested in Houston Texas at 2:45 AM local time after an altercation at a local bar with local Police. The three are all out of detention and are currently with TFC in Houston according to a terse statement from the team as the club prepares for its next game versus Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening.
Being arrested and being convicted are two completely different things. So let’s not speculate about the incident, who did what to whom or who decided to run or not run from the local constabulary. All of that will be sorted out by the local judicial system once the three get their due process and/or day in court to answer the charges. No charges might even be laid or for that matter more charges could be pending… We simply do not know much more at this early stage.
Below are three links on the Houston Police Department website that document the arrest and subsequent release of the three players:
I am not going to say anything else about the specifics of the incident. I think it is irresponsible for any of us to speculate on what went down before due process and investigation has taken place.
What I think needs to be discussed is this, and I pose this question to the club: Why were three Toronto FC players in a nightclub as late as 2:45 AM in the morning obviously drinking when there is a game that they would need to prepare for on Wednesday evening?
Any number of possible answers to that question might be correct:
1) The players broke curfew – assuming a curfew exists
2) There was no curfew to break and the players were able to do as they please during off hours
3) The players had tacit permission to go out to a nightclub
4) The players had no such permission and snuck out of the team hotel to party
Each answer to that simple question to me speaks to a serious issue with the culture surrounding this team and I hope that the club takes the time it should take to publicly address the concerns of its long suffering supporters that an incident like this can bring to the surface.
The club gets smoked AGAIN on the road loses its tenth game out of eleven on Saturday past and somehow either through incompetence on the part of the team or through the indifference of the team these three go out and get into trouble. As a paying customer this absolutely stinks to the high heavens! What the hell am I paying for at this point in this (once again) lost season other than heart and effort? How can players be expected to take part in any of the six matches coming up over the next three weeks if they are facing charges or are suspended by the league? How can a club in such dire straits allow or condone this kind of activity (drinking at 3 AM – not bar brawls and run in with Police) considering how poorly they are doing in the league and in the court of public opinion? How can professional athletes be at their best to perform for themselves and FOR US if they are sleep deprived and possibly hung over?
You simply cannot expect professional athletes to perform at their peak if they are allowed to be out late drinking. It is really that simple.
And no matter how you cut it in my humble opinion I do not think that you can just place the responsibility for this embarrassing incident completely at the feet of the three who decided to go out drinking. Their individual responsibility will come out in due course.
Toronto FC is their employer. TFC sets the club rules within the structure of the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the League. There is a lot of latitude on things not spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement like curfews and internal non monetary discipline that the club can use to set a tone and a culture within the club. I for one would like the team to step up and publicly explain what policies and procedures it has in place for its players to try and ensure that they put the best possible product on the field each and every game.
Last week I wrote a piece where I challenged Toronto FC to accept three challenges for the rest of this campaign. They were:
1) Play hard in the Champions League
2) Play with heart and passion for the full ninety minutes in each and every game left this season in the League, as that is the only chance they have to earn respectability this year
3) Catch and overtake the Montreal Impact and make sure that Toronto does not finish below them
Perhaps I should add a fourth challenge:
DO NOT EMBARRASS US AGAIN!