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Sapong arrested for reckless driving and DUI, ineligible to play until SABH assessment

Photo: Paul Rudderow

C.J. Sapong was been arrested early Friday morning and charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence, according to an announcement from Philadelphia Union and MLS.

Sapong is now ineligible to play for the Union until an assessment has been made by SABH Program doctors, pursuant of the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.

Details of Sapong’s arrest were not made public by the team or league.’s Jonathan Tannenwald reported Sapong’s arrested happened in Philadelphia, adding, “A preliminary arraignment hearing took place Friday evening. Sapong was released on his own recognizance and will face a further hearing on May 11. The DUI charge is noted in the criminal docket as a first offense.”

Union technical director Chris Albright said in the statement from the club, “We were alerted to the situation this morning and have been in contact with the league office, law enforcement and C.J.’s family. Moving forward, we will continue to work together with the League in following the appropriate procedures. We will have further comment once more information is available.”

The Union press release explained, “Sapong will undergo an assessment by MLS’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (“SABH”) Program doctors pursuant to the SABH Policy. He will not be eligible to participate in any competition until that assessment is complete, he is cleared for participation by the SABH Program doctors, and Major League Soccer completes its investigation.”

Section V — “Violation of SABH Policy/Entrance into the SABH Program” — from an undated document retrieved online titled “MLS Constitution” suggests Sapong’s arrest meets two violation criteria: “use of alcohol on work premises or reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or otherwise being affected at work by the consumption of alcohol,” and “violation of criminal law (other than traffic related misdemeanors, littering, jaywalking, and other similar offenses).”

Section VI explains further that an MLS player is required “to comport and conduct himself, both on and off the field, to a high standard of honesty, fair play and sportsmanship and in a manner befitting his position as a representative and promoter of soccer and MLS and to comply with all applicable laws.” Violation of criminal law is among activities deemed to violate the SPA.” The section concludes, “If there is reason to believe that the Player’s conduct is related to a behavioral health problem, then the SABH Program Professionals may, in their sole and absolute discretion, perform an Assessment and, if necessary, enter the Player in the treatment phase of the SABH Program.”

According to the undated document, disciplinary measures are separated into two categories under the SABH policy: those that “require entrance into the treatment phase of the SABH Program,” and those that do not. “All discipline will be determined and imposed by MLS, in its sole and absolute discretion consistent with the SABH Program and the CBA. The degree of discipline shall depend upon the nature and severity of the violation.”

The length of the assessment process and whatever disciplinary actions the league will take are unknown at this time.


  1. This just goes from worse scenario to horribly worse scenario…..this team needs sooo much and so many major changes.

    Though if I was Sapong and I had to play on this team, I would also be at the bottom of a bottle to.


  2. el pachyderm says:

    Jeeze Louise. What’s next?

  3. Philadelphia Collins says:

    My goodness, being a Philadelphia sports fan has driven me to depression..

  4. CJ Just state that you didn’t know what you were thinking and blame but on your concussion ….. Wtf Sapong ! I’m
    Glad you give a fuck about being a professional. I thought you wanted to improve the team, not burry it deeper into its own grave. ….. This year fucking sucks what a waste of my fucking money!

    • Stop complaining about your $$. You’re either a fan or you aren’t…if you can’t afford the whole season, then buy single game tickets and do what you can.

      Lineup should be the same except for CJ’s absence…1-4-2-3-1 (McCarthy-Williams-Vitoria-Edu-Gaddis-Nogs-Pfeffer-Ayuk-Chaco-LeToux-Nando)…Seba taking CJ’s spot.

      CJ, hope this was a one-time thing. Learn from it, do what you need to do, move on. Uber or a cab next time, well worth it.

      • I guarantee I’m more of a fan then you are. I’ve been a season ticket holder since day one and have always supported this team through the good and the bad. I think I have a right to be a little ticked off when a player that we desperately need on the field does something that could easily be avoided and should have been. Who knows what the verdict will be, could be mild or severe. To win any games , we need our best 11 on the field.

      • Phil in Wilmington says:

        With respect VDS, there is a fine line between being a die-hard fan and a sucker. This front office has done nothing to merit any kind of allegiance from fans in this region, and it’s truly going from bad to worse.

      • Vds is the soccer mom in the crowd that just enjoys getting out on the weekend to watch soccer …we pay our money to get through the gates at this point just to let this team know how pissed off we are at their performance. If you’re coming to see a franchise build and develop good smart soccer, then yes we are wasting our money and it’s time for a change so let’s get pissed off and not sit in our seats giving golf claps to every big boot down the field …vds wake up

  5. Alicat215 says:

    No 48 hour rule?

  6. The Little Fish says:

    When it rains it pours. Exactly what we don’t need. He was a glimmer of hope. Poof. Gone (for now) and its a damn shame. Reminds me of the Pfeffer suspension while Chaco was hurt. Golden opportunity sadly squandered. Looks like Seba and/or Andrew Wenger get a reprieve. This IS the type of situation that Seba has exploded and scored a brace. Here’s hoping upon hope that he delivers in the clutch for us. Go Union!

  7. The Little Fish says:

    It’s funny I just looked back at the Philadelphia Union 2010 roster. It’s a fun squad that Peter Nowak put together. In retrospect it seems the dude knew what he was doing. Shady character? Yep. Kinda crazy and erratic too? Yes indeed. But the squad and the tactics all these years later seem more advanced to me at this point. Can’t even believe I’m saying this.

    • Alicat215 says:

      It’s cool, your not alone……….

    • I looked it up about two or three weeks ago. At that time, Curtain had the best overall record of any Union manager, followed by Hackworth with Nowak bringing up the rear. That, though, was after his bought of insanity. His record his first two years was better, and he remains the one manager who got us to the playoffs. Curtain’s run to the finals in the USOC was great (as was Hacks run to the semis), but with knockout competitions the sample size is too small to draw real conclusions. This team needs a real FO. I’m not necessarily anti-Curtain. With no long-term plan for the team, the manager doesn’t matter. Curtain, as far as the Union’s problems go, is relatively irrelevant.

  8. ….aaaaand things just got a little worse.

  9. Anyone know where someone could get a hold of a bunch of those “No Ambition No Investment No Hope” red cards the Newcastle fans held up during today’s game? By 4 o’clock?

  10. You have go to be kidding me. Are we being Punk’d?

  11. alicat215 says:

    I’m just surprised a little bit, not shocked. What I’m surprised at is CJ being a little foolish here……and selfish. Your not going to be 100% on match day tying a load on two days before a match…….that is scientific fact. Your in a pretty much must win , at home, match……where you know your getting a starting nod…….and you go out? Something he should have learned a few years ago, in college…..or high school even. Dude screwed up, hopefully he learns from it and it’s the last we here about it…….and move on.

  12. The Black Hand says:

    Is this real life?

  13. el pachyderm says:

    Upon sleeping on it….. this is just one more little sign of how this has become a club unable to forge it own luck whether by runs of poor decisions on and now off the field.
    Tiger Woods once said luck had as much to do with him winning a tournament as skill because the luck is brought on by intense, intense concentration, commitment and excellence to the craft. What I feel he was saying is….
    …luck is not luck or random- luck is sometimes earned … and this club is in such a dark place carrying its karma everywhere it seems to go so — really, were any of you surprised to read this?
    We are unlucky exactly because, We Suck So Much. It is the logical consequence.

    • actually luck can be very random, like winning the Megamillions. Sometimes it is “the residue of design “(Branch Ricky)

      • Yes luck is random- of course that’s why it is luck….. but I was particularly referencing a quote from arguably the greatest golfer ever that luck also is the residue of hard smart effort- that we actually can create our own luck.
        Please note the word ‘sometimes’ in post.

  14. Murphthesurf says:

    “One way or another, one way or another, one way or another- this darkness got to give. ..”

    • el pachyderm says:

      holy hell…. so well played.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I saw things getting out of hand, I guess they always will.
      Now I don’t know but I been told
      If the horse don’t pull you got to carry the load.
      I don’t know whose back’s that strong, maybe find out before too long

  15. The Union don’t need to be LA or Toronto trying to buy championships. They do need to stop being so damn cheap. The Union need to get out from under this dark ownership and build a solid organization in one of the top sports markets in the country. In my opinion Sugarman and Sakeiwicz are an absolute disgrace and an embarassment and need to sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive ownership! There is no respect for this franchise or within the organization in general. However things turn out for CJ Sapong and his DUI, he needs to be smarter in the decision making process.
    For what ever reason, there is a dark cloud over Philly sports whether is just dumb luck and/or just plain organizational stupidity. We need and deserve a break!

    P.S. condolences go out to Rio Ferdinand and family for the lose of his wife Rebecca Ellison after battling cancer.


  16. Murphthesurf says:

    New chant- “No more Poop – we want to DOOP! ”

    or, sing 99 bottles of beer. ..

  17. I’d love to see an effort by SoB for the next nationally televised game to organize a banner in the sky demarcating our civil unrest with this team. Fly over the stadium the whole game – that way when Taylor Twellman comments on the banner – the country or the 6 people around the country watching The Onion, can at least understand we recognize this leadership structure is a farce a mockery and we do not stand behind it. Can’t control the airspace the way they monitor sections 115 or 104.

    • Yes they can. I believe there is no fly zone over the PPL Park because Airport path. FO knew where to build the stadium to prevent this. 🙂

      • el pachyderm says:

        stymied. damn.

      • Pay one of the cargo ships to hold up a banner as it floats by.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Make it big enough and hand on the bridge! Windage would be a problem, I’m not an engineer, but they make wind barriers that work on cyclone fences around tennis courts, so I assume the problem is solvable

  18. This is proof they need to raise the cap so these guys can afford Uber!!!!!!!

  19. And you may ask yourself
    What is that beautiful house?
    And you may ask yourself
    Where does that highway go to?
    And you may ask yourself
    Am I right?…Am I wrong?
    And you may say to yourself yourself
    My God!…What have I done?!

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