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Mommy, why is my coach kicking that man on the ground?

Sports violence starts long before the majors / Attack on soccer ref in under-10 game is grownup rage — This is another ridiculous story. What’s wrong with these people? Another interesting aspect of this story is that the offender is never named in the entire article. That’s some journalism.

When the first blow landed on the side of his head, sending his glasses flying, soccer referee Bruce Greenlee wasn’t shocked. There was no disbelief that a low-key, recreational league soccer game among 8- and 9-year- olds had turned to violence.

The sad fact is, he’d been expecting it.

“My first thought was, ‘Well, I guess today’s the day,’ ” Greenlee, an attorney and legal software developer in San Francisco, said Monday. “I kind of knew it would come someday.”

As the deep thinkers consider the consequences of some wealthy professional basketball players exchanging punches with beer-throwing fans, it is worth remembering where violence in sports begins. It isn’t on nationally televised events with triple-digit ticket prices. It is on sandlot fields, in neighborhoods, where casual games for kids turn a few angry grownups stupid and brutal.

In this case, it was last Saturday morning at halftime of an under-10 soccer match in sleepy, suburban Albany. It was a lovely morning until the coach of a Richmond team completely lost his marbles. He threatened Greenlee, a 59-year-old referee, and when Greenlee couldn’t change his mind, hit him twice, at least once with what Greenlee believes was a martial-arts kick, sending him to the hospital for stitches.

It wasn’t the first run-in Greenlee had with this coach. The guy had been in the league for three seasons, and Greenlee had twice before disqualified his team for failing to provide proof that his players were not over the required age. It was simple, the ref said: The guy was sneaking older players onto his team so he could win.



  1. Mike Voice says:

    Another interesting aspect of this story is that the offender is never named in the entire article. Thats some journalism.

    Yeah, seems like if the writer was that interested, he would have done more than just talk to the injered ref. Isn’t there a police report of an assault & battery that happened in the midst of several potential witnesses? If the writer took the time to research that – and quote from it – the accused could be named.

    With accusations like “completely lost his marbles” and “sneaking older players onto his team” – you would need more facts on your side, than the writer provided, to avoid a libel/defamation lawsuit. 🙁


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