Home MLS Toronto FC Based on public intoxication charges, it’s too early to judge three jailed TFC players

Based on public intoxication charges, it’s too early to judge three jailed TFC players


Toronto FC players Nick Soolsma, Miguel Aceval and Luis Silva were all placed in the Houston Police Department Central Jail early Monday morning after being arrested for public intoxication.

TFC is in Texas as part of its road trip that sees it face the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.

TFC issued the following statement Monday: “”We are aware of the charges filed against Miguel Aceval, Luis Silva and Nick Soolsma in Houston earlier today. The players are presently with the team and we continue to investigate this matter. As such, the team will not provide any further comment at this time.”

According to the Houston Police Department’s Jail Division information service, bonds of US$267 each were placed on Soolsma and Aceval, but there is no bond listed for Silva. Silva is an American citizen, the other two are not.

The trio were reportedly arrested outside of a Houston bar early Monday. But, to be clear, so far, each member of the trio has been charged with public intoxication, and nothing else.

Luis Silva

The real question will be if the three were out after curfew or breaking team rules. For spending the night in jail, which brings embarrassment to the team and the league, no doubt MLS or TFC (or both) will distribute penalties to the players — be it fines or suspensions.

But, really, based on charges that are relatively minor (and this changes if other charges are added later), it’s more important to think about if the players broke team rules. Really, a charge of public intoxication is something that about 99 per cent of young males could get slapped with at some time in their lives. I have been guilty of it, just never charged with it. I would assume that many of the readers of this site have also stumbled home from the pub or club on a few occasions.

But I have spent time with professional athletes away from the arena. And I can say this with certainty: You would be stunned by the number of people who approach even obscure pro players and challenge them to fights, telling them they were looking at their girlfriends funny or simply want to measure their toughness by taking on a guy who plays pro sports for a living. Once you’ve seen that, once you’ve lived it, you treat every one of these assault stories with a grain of salt. Teams will tell players not to get involved, that discretion is the better part of valour. Did the three TFC players do that? I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But, in Canada, journalists aren’t allowed to pile on when it comes to criminal charges. We can’t link one charge to an aggravating circumstance that may or may not be related.

Once a person has been charged, we have to be very careful what we report and how we report it. In the U.S., the rules are different, which allows journalists more freedom to make those simply charged with a criminal act seem like they are guilty before they go to a court of law. Growing up in the Canadian system, and knowing what I do about what happens when pro athletes go to the bar, it’s too early to pass judgment on the three.

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One Comment

  1. Andre

    June 19, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Whether the players were at fault for the incident or not, the simple fact that they were out at that time is a disgrace. No wonder the team has been horrible. We were too quick to blame Winter, suddenly the picture becomes clear. TFC should sack all of the management team for allowing players to break concentration like this (and it’s likely happened before, just that no one was arrested until now so it was under wraps). Also, they should sack most of the players, too, keep JDG, Frings, and Koef, sack the rest. Management too.

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