FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph, who was arrested and sent home from training camp two weekends ago in Orlando, said Monday that he expects to be vindicated and not punished when he meets with MLS officials to discuss the circumstances that led to his detainment.
Joseph, who was nabbed by Orlando police in the team’s hotel in the early morning and arrested for “trespass in dwelling after warning,” said he was eager to tell his side of the story, which he said not even officials from his own team took the time to hear before they sent him and teammate Kevin Alston from camp for the incident nine days ago.
“They are going to talk to me sometime today or tomorrow and sometime this weekend they are going to make a decision,’’ Joseph said Monday. “But when they hear my side of the story I don’t think I can get punished for what I did. I think I acted appropriately in terms of the situation I was in. That’s what I’m going to tell them and hopefully it goes my way.’’
Joseph said he planned to have legal representation at the hearing with MLS officials. “I’m going to have a lawyer and the union is going to represent me,’’ he said.
The latest incident, combined with a six-game suspension last season after testing positive for marijuana usage, has tarnished the image of one of the team’s best-ever players. Joseph, who is invested in the community, lending his name to a youth club and academy, said he is concerned about his reputation.
“Oh yeah, definitely,’’ he said. “I got arrested and it’s definitely negative publicity to me and toward this team and I don’t need that. I have an academy, I have clubs, I have kids that look up to me and I have people who are very close to me who look up to me as a role model, so for me to be arrested definitely shines a negative light on me.
“The bad part about it is nobody really knows what happened,’’ he added. “Not the Revolution staff, the coaching staff, the people in charge. They never asked me what actually happened. They just gave me and [Alston] punishment without exactly knowing what happened. It’s kind of negative toward me, as I said, and I just have to try to put that behind me and try to move forward.’’
Joseph said he was not breaking any team rules the evening of his arrest, but acknowledged he did have a lapse in judgment when the team was in training.
“We didn’t have curfew at all,’’ he said. “We just had training the next morning. Yeah, I should have been home. But we went out for dinner and then the night just took us. We went out for drinks and we came back late. Kevin was already injured. He wasn’t even practicing the next day. He’ll tell you his side of the story. He was already coming home regardless. Nobody knows that. But they decided to send Kevin and that’s not fair to him.’’
While contrite on one hand, Joseph sounded defiant on another, wondering why his team never discussed the circumstances surrounding the arrest before sending him home.
“We should have had a dialogue from day one with the Revolution staff, the coaches, everything,’’ he said. “That should have been the first process before I even got sent home and then take it from there. Whatever punishment they decide I need for my behavior, then fine, I’ll take it. But they never even actually asked me what happened. And then to punish Kevin for something he didn’t even do is something I don’t really approve of.
“I just think it’s really wrong the way they treated him and, to some extent, the way they treated me. Ultimately, my action took me to the point where I shouldn’t have been there. But they should have definitely found out what happened first and then deal us some kind of punishment.’’
Major League Soccer said there was a multiphased investigation that will take place before any decision is made concerning Joseph and Alston. A memo from the league detailed the process. First, the MLS players union is notified. The league investigates the incident, which at a minimum includes speaking with the player. The players union may have a representative present. Should the situation warrant further investigation, the league will continue to look into the incident. The information then is presented to the commissioner (or his designee), who will levy discipline as he/she sees fit. Discipline can include a fine, suspension (with or without pay), termination or other lesser discipline.
Joseph said he is concerned that the string of incidents could turn public sentiment against him. He said he plans to put everything back in proper context when the season starts.
“I am worried about it in terms of people thinking I’m a bad guy,’’ he said. “Everybody makes bad decisions and mistakes here and there, but I don’t want people to think I’m such a bad guy and I’m putting my personal needs ahead of this team. Ultimately, I’m the biggest team player you will ever meet. I always put the team first. For them to punish me like that is kind of frustrating but, as I said, my actions got me in that position and now I just have to deal with it.’’