Sunday, May 5, 2013

Referee Dies After Being Punched by 17-Year-Old Soccer Player

Last week, Ricardo Portillo of Salt Lake City was refereeing for a recreational soccer league. He called a foul on a 17-year-old soccer play and a yellow card was issued. The player was fouled for pushing an opposing forward player, hence the yellow card. The teenager began arguing with Portillo over the foul and then punched him in the side of his face. Portillo initially seemed fine, but quickly complained of dizziness and then began vomiting blood, which prompted an ambulance call. Portillo suffered swelling in his brain and quickly moved to critical condition. He gradually slipped into a coma and eventually died last night.

According to the AP, the teenager initially fled and eluded police detectives. However, his father eventually brought him into the police, leading to his arrest under suspicion of aggravated assault. He likely faces additional charges now that Portillo has died.

According to NPR, Portillo had suffered similar sports-related attacks in the past. Five years ago, he's suffered broken ribs from a player. A few years before that, he's had his leg broken over a call.

The teenager's team has been expelled from this soccer league, La Liga Continental de Futbol. Additionally, the league plans to hire off-duty police officers to provide security at future games.

I understand that sports are important and that people want to win. But who would ever think that it would help your cause or your team to physically assault others during games -- much less the referees?

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