Sunday, November 8, 2009

ESPN does an ACTUAL story about the New Mexico/BYU match

Watch this interview with a local reporter (Jared Lloyd/Desert News) who covered this match. He points out that the "refs allowed" for a "physical game" - and offers a well informed perspective on the tone of the game (explaining New Mexico's use of a physical style of play to break up BYU's movement up and down the field). Without minimizing the responsibilities of the individual players he more or less says that this is what happens when referees stop policing a competitive match. He also leaves us with questions about the coach. If you are invested in a player's development, wouldn't you pull them out of the match if they were playing that violently? Of course, if none of the fouls are being called, and you are in a close match, what coach would? In any case, we still have no real digging by journalists into the refereeing angle.

Why isn't the referee's name being broadcast, for example? Joe Pimentel - that's his name, and he shouldn't be allowed to work another match.

The sensationalism with which this story is being handled is much more shocking than the story itself. My god, you would think sports editors had never met, uhm, a woman. Of course women can play hard, and dirty. Just like men do. In a municipal league, when it's this obvious, you don't suspend the player, sometimes you suspend the whole team.

A lot of women and men players reading this know this - and the sports journalists covering this story ought to also know this - that a) women play dirty just like men do and b) the real story is about the refereeing and coaching. As bad as Lambert's play was, I just hate seeing her scapegoated this way as if responsibility for what happened in that match falls on her alone.

I wish ESPN had gone after the real story from the start by reporting on the actual game.


  1. The discussion in BigSoccer's Referee forum has pointed out the very weird world of refereeing at college and high school levels - where the coaches and athletic directors evidently have the power to blackball referees who call the game the way a coach doesn't like. Most of us have indeed been appalled that Lambert was allowed to remain on the pitch after what most see as 3 or 4 straight red-card offenses- Joe Pimentel certainly failed to officiate this match and shouldn't get another one at this level. But the whole aspect of how referees are assigned or blackballed from such games deserves exposure, because that problem (referees calling it too leniently to please the ADs and coaches) won't go away with punishment for Joe.

  2. Hi Doug,

    Indeed: Pimentel refereed a men's game (UCLA/Washington) a few days later! I've e-mailed both teams for comment and have received an official "no comment" from Washington. I don't expect a real reply from either team's spokespeople, but I'm scandalized!



Feedback? Let me know what you think. Just an FYI: all comments posted to this blog are recorded, whether I publish them or not. I do not publish generally hateful comments - whether they be directed at me or at players and teams or other readers. I appreciate reader feedback, especially from those whose contributions add nuance and complexity to the story.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...