Virginia Star Shamel Bratton Benched Against Maryland; Starsia Calls Suspension 'Indefinite'
Shamel Bratton, an All-American midfielder for the No. 6-ranked University of Virginia men's lacrosse team, has been suspended for Saturday's game against No. 10-ranked Maryland.
Bratton was shown standing on the sideline in athletic warm-up attire by ESPNU, which is televising the game live from Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. Virginia lost 12-7, its second straight defeat.
Bratton did not practice during the week.
"He didn't practice with us this week," Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said after Saturday's game. "I spent time with him probably every day. The team has a set of guidlines and rules and I do treat everybody individually, but the rules need to be applied equally. We'll continue to stay in touch and sort this out."
Starsia would not say when Bratton would return. "I would call it indefinite right now," he said. He told the Washington Post on Friday that Bratton had violated team rules and that the matter was handled internally.
“We have team rules, and they need to be followed,” Starsia said. “He is still part of the team, but he needs to figure out if he wants to make sacrifices for the good of the team.”
It marks the second time this season that Bratton has been suspended for a key game against a top 10-ranked team. Bratton and his twin brother Rhamel Bratton missed a Feb. 26 game at Stony Brook, which Virginia won, 11-10 in overtime. Both cases were treated internally as disciplinary issues.
Starsia had also suspended starting goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman for the Cavaliers' season-opening win over Drexel.
Shamel Bratton is the Cavaliers' third-leading scorer with 17 goals and seven assists this season. He was drafted professionally by the Boston Cannons, the fourth overall selection in January's Major League Lacrosse draft. Playing a more visible role with his brother benched, Rhamel Bratton scored two first-half goals Saturday against Maryland.
It's not the first time Rhamel has picked up the slack for Shamel. Rhamel bumped up to the first midfield line (where he now resides fulltime) last year when Shamel was nursing a leg injury. Rhamel Bratton was selected by the Long Island Lizards in the third round (17th overall) in the MLL draft.