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MLS commissioner Garber fines Timbers owner for actions toward league referees

Merritt Paulson was fined $25,000 for his actions toward referees during and after the Portland Timbers' 1-1 draw with D.C. United Saturday night.

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson's opinion about the league's officiating has come at quite the cost.

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday that commissioner Don Garber fined Paulson $25,000 for confronting match officials and then blasting them on Twitter following the Timbers' 1-1 draw with D.C. United Saturday night.

Paulson was reacting to the assistant referee's decision to award a penalty kick to D.C. for a questionable handball on center back David Horst. Portland, which has yet to be awarded a penalty kick this season, conceded a goal to Chris Pontius on the spot kick but battled back to tie the game through a late Bright Dike strike.

Paulson went after officials at Jeld-Wen Field, then took to social media to relay his disgust. He deleted his initial tweets, in which he wrote, "Let's be real...nfl replacement refs have nothing on mls primary refs. Sick of this garbage. I will happily take the fine. It's atrocious. Should balance out."

He went on to say, in a series of tweets later that night, "All season long...not a single damn pk awarded to us. Numerous cut/dry blown calls. And let's give DC a gift for good measure.

"I don't like complaints about refs, always sounds like excuses. But this season has been unique. Literally no pks. We haven't controlled what we can control to max for sure. But also haven't had many breaks. Is what it is. From my end. I'm not making a habit of this. Owner shouldn't be part of the story. We will keep seeking to improve and eventually we will succeed. (And maybe someday I won't tweet angry)."

MLS does not make a habit of disclosing its fine amounts, reserving such occasions for the more egregious acts. In June, 2011, the league announced a fine of $10,000 to just-ousted New York Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler for his tirade on officiating following the club's 3-3 draw with the Timbers.

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