MLS referee suspended after workers' compensation fraud arrest
Jose Carlos Rivero will not work his scheduled MLS assignment this weekend after the Professional Referees Organization suspended him on Thursday for his recent arrest on two felony counts related to workers' compensation fraud.
Rivero, 33, was arrested by the New York State Police on Oct. 6 and released after being charged with offering a false instrument for filing and insurance fraud. He is alleged to have collected $14,000 in unlawful benefits through the New York State Workers' Compensation Board while gainfully employed, according to a release from the New York State Police earlier this month.
See the whole story here, from Fox Sports.
Kicking Back Comments: I am a huge fan of innocent until proven otherwise ... but ... when you are a public figure who is responsible for holding up the integrity of a public office, school, or sport (among other things), when you are legitimately accused of fraud, you need to go.
If I were running PRO, I would do the same thing here in suspending him immediately. Then when the proceedings are over, sever the relationship regardless of the disposition.
Seems horribly unjust you say? Maybe. But for a person in a trust position like a referee who is arrested and (likely) tried for multiple felony counts, I am not sure how you can get that trust back to remain effective in the position. We are not talking about a he-said she-said, we are talking about a multiple count felony indictment. Type and magnitude of the crime are material here.
Recall that the authority from a referee is not from the LOTG, or the league, or some other 3rd source ... it is from the integrity of the referee themselves. I contend the source of ones' ability to manage a match inside the field is self generated and if you are not honest with yourself, you will have difficulty being honest in managing others.
Anyone every heard of Tim Donaghy? While the crime Donaghy was convicted and served time for is slightly askew from the crime Rivero is charged with, the damage to the integrity of referees and The Game is the same.
I wish Mr. Rivero good health and all the best in his next (non-refereeing) career because he should never see a MLS match again as an official.
By the way ... this whole soccer personality getting arrested reminds me of someone else I've been following in US Soccer circles. I Hope you stick around for that one.