Written by Ellie Petrosky / Assistant Opinions Editor
Respect is a value that has been taught to sports teams as long as they have been in existence. But recently there have been a slew of stories about the disrespect between referees and players in the world of soccer suggesting that, maybe, respect is not held in as high regard as it used to be.
Long gone are the days when opponents would congratulate each other willingly on a good pass, move or match. Lost are the moments when opposing coaches would shake hands with each other, grins on their faces, commending each other on a battle well-fought. Left behind are games during which a player would help an opponent up after knocking him down in the play before. Erased are the times when coaches would wholeheartedly thank and show appreciation for the referees who officiated their game.
Unfortunately for soccer lovers like me, the news of unsportsmanlike conduct during soccer games reaches public attention much more often than heartwarming stories of opponents looking out for and assisting each other.
Just recently, there have been two incidents of soccer players attacking referees after calls did not go their way.
During an Indonesian Premier League game on April 21, Persiwa Wamena player Pieter Rumaropen punched referee Wasit Muhaimin in the face after one of his teammates was called for a foul inside the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick for the opposing Pelita Bandung Raya. Members of Persiwa argued with the referee over the foul, but none as violently as Rumaropen, who punched the referee in the face.
Muhaimin was sent to the hospital because of profuse bleeding from his face that required stitches. A replacement official issued a red card to Rumaropen, who was then sentenced to a lifetime ban from league play by the IPL disciplinary board.
On April 27, referee Ricardo Portillo was attacked by a teenaged player while refereeing a soccer game between two Utah club teams. Portillo had blown his whistle on the player for a foul committed during a corner kick. The foul resulted in Portillo issuing a yellow card to the player, who immediately began arguing with the referee over the call. As Portillo was writing down the details of the yellow card, the player landed a punch to the referee’s jaw.
Portillo was taken to a hospital where he lapsed into a coma and eventually died as a result of his injuries. The player who attacked Portillo has been held in a juvenile detention center and is being charged with homicide by assault.
As the daughter and sister of soccer referees and a former referee myself, I’m horrified by the lack of respect shown toward referees in soccer games today. The thought that someone I love could leave home to officiate a game and never return is terrifying and unnecessary.
Believe me, I understand that referees are not perfect, as I’ve been on both sides of the whistle. But, as a player, a call that doesn’t go your way isn’t grounds for attacking the person who made it. The root of this issue lies with parents and coaches not holding their children and players accountable for their own actions.
Coaches should enforce penalties for arguing with a referee over a call. In my experience, the moment someone mouthed off to a referee was the moment his or her butt met the bench. I have never had a coach who tolerated the act of talking back to a referee.
In addition, parents should also hold their children accountable for their behavior on the field. When kids are on the field, they might remain under the supervision of another adult, but it is still up to the parents to enforce the same conduct on the field that they expect at home.
From the very first time players put on their shin guards and cleats, coaches and parents should teach them to respect the referees. They should understand that there are penalties for being impudent toward referees. Before every game, coaches should remind them to take their fouls in stride and consider them to be constructive criticisms instead of personal attacks. They should be told that they’re going to make mistakes and that they’re not perfect. They should be told that even though they will be called for fouls at one time or another, they should take responsibility for their missteps, learn from them and focus on the next play, even if they don’t agree with the call. They should be told why referees are there and why they call the fouls they do.
Referees aren’t present at sporting events to make life difficult for the teams, choose sides or to be a pain. Nor are they there to be choked, abused or used as punching bags. Referees are present at sporting events to keep play safe and to keep players from incurring unnecessary injuries.
Many referees, especially at the recreational level, are volunteers who take time out of their lives to keep your loved ones safe during their contests. They shouldn’t be worried about putting themselves at risk for bodily harm while working to keep others safe.
As with any profession, there is risk, but that risk shouldn’t be magnified by players throwing tantrums and left hooks because they don’t get their way.
Referees should be paid in respect, rather than with injury.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:59
Written by Nate Barnes / Assistant Sports Editor
The Pitt baseball team recorded its eighth sweep of the season over Mother’s Day weekend at the expense of Big East foe Villanova, the cellar dwellers of the conference.
Pitt (40-11, 18-3 Big East) took over first place in the conference with its sweep of Villanova (11-39, 2-19 Big East) at Charles L. Cost Field in a series that featured one tightly contested game and a pair of dominant efforts by the Panthers.
Pitt topped Villanova 4-3 in the series opener on Saturday, 12-4 in the back end of Saturday’s doubleheader and 10-2 in the series finale on Sunday. Sunday’s victory marked a Pitt program record, as the team reached the 40-win mark for the first time in school history.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 01:00
Written by Dave Uhrmacher / Sports Editor
The Pitt softball team’s performance this season was underwhelming to say the least.
But as injuries and fielding blunders bogged down Pitt’s winning percentage, one Panther was making the most of her inaugural campaign at the collegiate level.
Freshman outfielder Tori Nirschl traveled a long way from her home in Carlsbad, Calif., to play collegiate softball at Pitt, but ever since she set foot on campus, she has had every intention of making an impact.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:54
Written by Dave Uhrmacher / Sports Editor
Junior Carvin Nkanata continued his impressive postseason as he shaved .51 seconds off a career-best time of 20.83, which he ran one week ago at the Big East Tournament.
This advancement came en route to a 200-meter dash championship on Sunday, May 12, at the ECAC-IC4A Championships at Princeton University.
The 20.32-second sprint marks a new career best for Nkanata and was the second-fastest time posted across the nation, behind Texas A&M senior Ameer Webb’s 20.30 at the SEC Championship on Sunday.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:49
Written by Dave Uhrmacher / Sports Editor
The Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten announced on Wednesday the slate of games that will make up the Big Ten-ACC Challenge for this upcoming basketball season.
For the first time since Dec. 10, 2005, Pitt will host in-state rival Penn State on Dec. 3 at the Petersen Events Center.
Penn State is Pitt’s oldest rival and second-most common opponent in the program’s history.
The Panthers have found success against their Keystone State foes as of late, winning 10 of the last 13 contests, including two matchups at the Petersen Events Center.
Since their first meeting during the 1905-1906 season, Penn State holds a 75-70 advantage in the 145 games played in the series.
“It’s not often that you can pair rivals in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said in a press release. “Obviously ESPN jumped on this opportunity, and it figures to be an exciting matchup for the players, fans and the entire state of Pennsylvania.”
Beginning in 1999, the ACC won 10 straight ACC-Big Ten Challenges, followed by three victories for the Big Ten and culminating in a tie last season with each conference taking home six victories.
Despite the lopsided record, both conferences consist of national powerhouse programs that account for six national titles since 2000 and a total of nine teams making Final Four appearances since the turn of the century.
The Big East/SEC Challenge was cancelled following the departure of marquee programs to other conferences.
The ESPN family of networks will combine to televise all 12 games over the two-day span in the battle for conference supremacy and the right to hoist the Commissioner’s Cup.
Of the 15 teams in the ACC, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest were left off this year’s slate of games.
The 15th annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge will take place on Dec. 3-4 at 14 different conference sites. The two-day event features eight teams included in the ESPN.com preseason top 25 poll.
The remaining games include:
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Indiana at Syracuse
Michigan at Duke
Notre Dame at Iowa
Florida State at Minnesota
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Wednesday, Dec. 4
North Carolina at Michigan State
Maryland at Ohio State
Miami at Nebraska
Wisconsin at Virginia
Boston College at Purdue
Northwestern at North Carolina State
The dates and times of Pitt’s full conference and nonconference schedule for the upcoming 2013-2014 season will be released at a later date. Here is a look at Pitt’s home and away opponents for their inaugural season in the ACC.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 01:03