Today, the Professional Referee Organization, the body which oversees referees for MLS, NASL, USL Pro, NWSL, and the US Open Cup, published a statement on head injuries. The statement reads, in part:
all match officials have been reminded that one of their prime duties is the safety of all participants in the sport and if any of the match officials suspect a head injury has occurred, the game should be immediately stopped and the athletic trainer allowed on to the field to assess the situation.
While there is no mention of it, this seems to be in response to the incident involving Ethan White and Alan Gordon, in which White was elbowed in the head and Jair Marrufo allowed play to continue until John Thorrington committed a foul and drew a yellow card. After play stopped, however, D.C. United's trainers were still not allowed to check on White until nearly 11 minutes after the original injury, at which time he was immediately taken out and replaced by Conor Shanosky. Ben Olsen and his staff were screaming at the fourth official to allow their staff to attend to White, but none of the four referees did anything.
While Alan Gordon was not suspended for his role in this incident, it seems like Marrufo has been. Since that match, the only assignment Marrufo has received was an already scheduled fourth official appearance in the US Open Cup. Since then, Marrufo has not appeared as a center referee or a fourth official and he is not on the schedule for any upcoming games through July 14. And if any of you have forgotten Marrufo's history, Cuauhtémoc Blanco once allegedly gave Marrufo his jersey after a game, he was suspended for the remained for the 2009 season in September due to poor performances, and his poor performances also led to him being removed from consideration for the 2010 World Cup.
The quality of MLS refereeing has been a constant thorn in the side of fans. However, progress seems to be coming slowly and the quality of the newer refs seems to be better. Perhaps this incident, on top of many others, will finally rid us of one of the worst holdovers.