4 on Blast, 3 on Heat penalized for brawl


March 08, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Three Blast players were fined and suspended for up to three games, and a fourth was fined yesterday by the Major Indoor Soccer League for their roles in an altercation after Sunday night's game in Harrisburg.

Overall, four Blast players and three from the Heat, as well as Harrisburg coach Richard Chinapoo, were disciplined for a brawl that commissioner Steve Ryan called "an embarrassment" to both teams, the league and the sport.

Three-game suspensions and fines went to Chinapoo and Blast defender Dewan Bader. Two-game suspensions and fines were handed to Blast goalkeeper Scott Hileman and forward Tarik Walker, as well as the Heat's Paolo Ceccarelli and Matt Knowles.

The league also fined Blast midfielder Paul Wright for gross misconduct and the Heat's Wendell Regis for verbal abuse of officials. And Heat management was fined for violating league policy in not continuing to videotape events as players left the field after Baltimore's 15-10 win.

"The league has applied strong discipline to the [principal] participants in the altercation," Ryan said, though not disclosing the amount of the fines because of league policy. "Their conduct was totally unacceptable and detracts from our game."

The league could rely only on written accounts from players, officials and coaches involved, slowing the investigation.

The suspensions are effective immediately and cannot be appealed. But fines over $500 - all but Wright's - can be appealed.

Walker said last night that he had appealed his case. Kevin Healey, Blast coach and general manager, questioned the levy against Walker in wake of the 10-minute, multi-player melee that started in a tiff involving fans, Bader, who is a former Heat player, and Chinapoo.

"I did not see Tarik involved, and the players in our locker room were all saying Tarik was not involved; therefore, it seems like he got the short end of the stick," Healey said.

Backup keeper Karim Mounban, who got his first start in Sunday's game, will be in goal tomorrow night, when the Blast visits the Cleveland Crunch. The team will not play again until March 17 at Kansas City.

"We're missing three prominent players for the next two games that are on the road, and we'll have to make the proper adjustments," said Healey.

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