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Let’s talk about domestic violence and Jesse Gonzalez

Now’s not the time to shy away from a difficult topic.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last Friday on June 5th, 2020 we learned that domestic abuse charges were filed against FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Very few details were available at the time, but it was announced that MLS would be suspending Gonzalez indefinitely during the investigation.

Our good friends, Dallas Soccer Show, did some digging and were able to obtain this summary from the Frisco Police Department.

At the time of this writing, there’s been nothing new to report on the development of this story but we do owe it to ourselves to have these conversations.

This is not complicated

This is very serious.

Of course, this is an active investigation and by all accounts, it looks like Gonzalez is cooperating with the authorities and we’re not making any assumptions on his guilt or innocence.

I am also by no means the expert in this arena, but at the same time, it would be negligent to not at least bring it up and engage in the conversion too.

According to the CDC an estimated 960,000 and 3,000,000 incidents of domestic violence are reported each year, while countless others go unreported. One in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

What does this mean for Jesse?

The league has already stated that he is suspended, and that isn’t likely to be lifted until a conclusion has been reached.

This could mean imprisonment, as we’ve seen former MLSer Marco Pappa get five years, but Pappa’s case was in Guatemala.

The league could just suspend Gonzalez for a certain number of games, as they did with Will Johnson - who served a five game suspension and a 26 week counseling program.

Or they could go the Tyler Deric way, where the suspension lasted 19 games back in 2017 and 2018.

Given we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and the status of the current season up in the air, it doesn’t look like Gonzalez will see any soccer action in 2020.

What does this mean for FC Dallas?

If my memory serves me correctly, the last incident of this magnitude was back in 2012/2013 when then-FC Dallas President Doug Quinn was accused of assaulting his wife in a New York hotel.

But since then, the image of this club has been squeaky clean. Not a thing from anyone in the front office and certainly not a single player being involved in anything like this.

A huge hit from this, though, will be in the Academy — which has been the pride, joy and the lifeblood of his club. Gonzalez is an Academy graduate and has a very high ceiling for his potential as a player. From the way Oscar Pareja and Luchi Gonzalez have talked about the Academy graduates, developing good players and even better people had always been their ultimate goal.

Does this stain the Academy? Not necessarily, but it does create the need to take a look and see where any steps could be made to prevent something like this from happening again. This isn’t an attempt to cast blame - if this allegation is true, the blame lies entirely on Gonzalez. But knowing this club and their commitment to the community, we can assume that they will use this as an opportunity to reflect and see what other steps they can take to avoid another such incident.

On the field, it means Jimmy Maurer gets a chance again at the starting position. Maurer has certainly been up to the task and would be a starter for many other clubs in this league.

What now?

We wait, but while we wait — let’s take this time to educate ourselves like Bill Hamid did in 2018.

And if you find yourself in a situation and in needing resources, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great place to start.

The league and the club have some big decisions ahead of them. On a personal front, after watching the NFL give Ray Rice just a four game suspension for assaulting his then girlfriend — a sentence that was far more lenient than what they handed out for substance abuse. The message was clear: the NFL doesn’t care about women. That sparked a decision for me to boycott the NFL and I haven’t watched a snap since.

Whether they want this or not, how Dallas handles this will send a message. The question is, what kind of message do they want to send?