It has to be the costliest tweak in Major Indoor Soccer League history.
On Monday, it was announced that the MISL fined Socker Coach Ron Newman $6,000 and suspended him for three games next season for his altercation with Ron Weinstein, the Los Angeles Lazer vice president of operations, during San Diego's road finale at the Forum April 4.
"I was just tweaking his ear," said Newman, who admitted he also made anti-Semitic remarks toward Weinstein.
A MISL rule passed before the current season states that any member of a club who strikes a MISL official or representative of a team is subject to a minimum $5,000 fine.
"I just execute the rules," said MISL Commissioner Francis Dale, who viewed the videotape of the game that was sent to the league office by the Lazers. "It's subject to appeal if he (Newman) wants to, but he'll have to convince me I was wrong."
Newman said it was "a trivial incident" and he will appeal the decision. Since the league does not permit a team to pay a fine issued to one of its employees, the burden falls on Newman. Whereas $6,000 may be one day's pay for a professional baseball or basketball player, it is a substantial amount of money for most coaches and players in the MISL.
"I can't afford this type of fine," Newman said.
The incident began with Newman riding the officials in his customary style. However, this time the cable television cameras, located between the two team benches, were picking it up on film.
"It's a different language you're talking down there," Newman said. "I was having a go at the officials. I'm entitled to that. There is such a thing as intimidating the officials.
"But I don't want that on film. And I hear him (Weinstein) saying 'Are you catching that?' To be honest, I didn't know who he was. I thought he was with the public relations department. It doesn't matter who he was. There is no way he should come down (from the press level) and provoke a situation like that. He was telling people to get those pictures.
"I told him to get the hell out of here. And I tweaked his ear. It was like a little boy being caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I was admonishing him.
"I called him a Jewish something," Newman said. "I didn't mean anything by it."
Attempts to reach Weinstein by telephone Monday were unsuccessful.
Newman's altercation with Weinstein only served to intensify the bad blood between the clubs. Newman called a timeout and inserted a sixth attacker with three seconds remaining in a 7-4 Socker victory against the Lazers Feb. 11 to infuriate both Wall and his players.
In sending the videotape of the April 4 game to the league office, the Lazers had a chance to get back at the Sockers. Since they had been heavily fined by the league office April 5, it also was an opportunity to try and prove that they are not the only "bad guys" in the league.
"This (fine to Newman) is an appeasement to them (Lazers)," Newman said.
On April 5, Lazer Coach Peter Wall was fined $10,500 and suspended for the first three matches next season for throwing water on referee Kelly Mock in the Lazers' 8-2 loss in St. Louis March 31. After being ejected from the game, Wall continued to communicate with his players and directed them to resist attacks on goal by St. Louis players in the final 2 1/2 minutes. The Steamers scored three goals during that stretch.
For that action, which was considered "conduct detrimental to the league, the team was fined an additional $10,000 and six players were fined a total of $3,000. According to a Lazer news release issued April 11, the team plans to appeal those fines.
In addition to the fines levied against Newman and Wall, Sting owner Lee Stern was recently fined $7,500 for pushing MISL Director of Operations James Budish in the press box at Chicago Stadium.
"When you make a move to solve a problem," said Socker General Managing Partner Bob Bell, "sometimes people are hurt who shouldn't be. Unfortunately, in Ron's case, I think he is kind of being made an example of."
Midfielder Branko Segota has been selected to the 22-man "A" squad of the Canadian National team that will compete in the upcoming World Cup in Mexico City. Segota is scheduled to join the Canadian team following the playoffs. Other MISL players selected include Carl Valentine, Pasquale DeLuca and Mike Sweeney of Cleveland, Gerry Gray of Chicago, Mike Uremovich of Dallas, Tino Lettieri of Minnesota, Dale Mitchell of Kansas City, Bob Lenarduzzi and David Norman of Tacoma.