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Posted at 01:16 PM ET, 06/30/2011

Copa America: Mexican national team players suspended for hiring prostitutes

Giovani dos Santos leads a suddenly-depleted Mexican national team at Copa America. (MARTIN ACOSTA - REUTERS)
The joy cascading within Mexico’s borders and throughout much of the United States after El Tri captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday may have spilled into South America.

It turns out Mexico’s Copa America 2011 team — pulled primarily from the country’s under-22 national team — was doing a bit of celebrating of its own over the weekend.

While Giovani dos Santos was chipping home his glorious goal to seal Mexico’s 4-2 victory over the Americans at the Rose Bowl, his younger brother and several other members of Mexico’s Copa America squad were reportedly partying with prostitutes in their rooms at Hotel Quito in Ecuador.

In the ultimate double-whammy, those same prostitutes may have handed off room keys to robbers who then pilfered electronics and money from the players’ rooms.

Israel Jimenez, Nestor Vidrio, Jonathan dos Santos, Marco Fabian, Jorge Hernandez, Javier Cortes, David Cabrera and Nestor Calderon have been suspended for six months by the Mexican Football Federation and were each fined $4,100 for violating team training rules.

Earlier this month Mexico was forced to drop five players from its Gold Cup team after they tested positive for a banned substance. Both the players and the Mexican federation blamed the positive tests on contaminated meat. What type of excuse might Jonathan dos Santos and company cook up for this one?

All parties involved — the eight confessed their involvement — have already been replaced in advance of Mexico’s tournament opener July 4 against Chile.

The tournament kicks off Friday in La Plata where Lionel Messi and host nation Argentina face off against Bolivia.

By  |  01:16 PM ET, 06/30/2011

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