The decision by a referee to award a penalty kick in the final minute of a Massachusetts high school boys soccer playoff game led two of the defeated players to lash out against the game referee.
As reported by the Boston Herald, Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.) High School was eliminated from the state playoffs in the first round of the south regionals after referees awarded a last minute penalty kick to Norwell. The Clippers converted the attempt and went on to win the match 1-0.
That decision led to an incendiary reaction from a pair of Vineyard players, who then attacked the referee in a scary incident. Here’s how the Herald described the interaction:
Upon the final whistle, two Martha’s Vineyard players charged the official who made the initial call, with the first player coming from behind and providing a one-hand shove in the back forcing the official forward. The second player then delivered a chest bump, before the first player came back with a second push to the back.
Both players were levied red cards for physical conduct toward an official.
With the match effectively ending the Vineyard squad’s season, the red cards had little impact. Instead, it was rapid intervention by players and administrators from both schools that diffused the situation and kept it from becoming even more violent.
That intervention provides some small comfort for Martha’s Vineyard’s coaches and officials, even if it can’t help them feel completely better about their players’ role in the fight.
“We are constantly reinforcing to our fans, athletes, and coaches how important it is to be respectful towards game officials,” Martha’s Vineyard athletic director Mark McCarthy told the Herald. “Unfortunately, there are times when events speed up before you have the chance to stop them. I am proud of how some of our players acted to stop the situation.”