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 the story from the start by reporting on the actual game.