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For our next story, we go south, south, south of the border to a futebol match in Brumadinho, in the Brazilian state of Minais Gerais, where a regional league match was in progress. A referee named Gabriel Murta had a rough time dealing with some unruly players from the Amantes de Bola team. During a dispute over a red card that wasn’t called, Murta was kicked and slapped and quickly retreated to the locker room. This time out was the last act of good judgment he displayed that day . . .

Murta – whom the UK’s Mirror reports as being a “policeman by day” – had apparently decided that he was just getting started. He retrieved a pistol and charged back out to the field to…well, that’s not really clear. Enforce the rules the only way he knows?

Fortunately, another linesman restrained the hot-tempered official and escorted him off the field, allowing peace to finally reign once again. Or what passes for for it in the world of rural South American soccer. So indefensible, right? Not as far as the local officials’ association sees it, according to The Mirror:

Referees’ association boss Giuliano Bozzano said the official felt threatened and went to look for the weapon to defend himself.

The league, however, is treating the blandishment with the seriousness you’d expect.

He was due to undergo a psychological assessment later today and could face suspension or a permanent ban….

Mr Bozzano said: “The Minais Gerais Football Federation has already summonsed the referee and a psychologist to a meeting and I’m going to talk with him today.

“On the basis of that conversation and his account of events and the results of the psychological assessment I’ll decide what if any measures to take.

“What’s happened is obviously not a common occurrence and I don’t want to rush into anything.

“At the moment it happened he’s opted for getting his gun because in his view it was a question of controlling a situation.”

Yes, hmm. “Controlling the situation.” Or dangerously escalating it. The news accounts don’t relate what else was going on here — perhaps the Amantes de Bola players were about to go on a rampage through the stands. Perhaps he was genuinely concerned about the safety of everyone present. Or perhaps his ego was bruised worse than his body.

In any event, while Senhor Murta awaits the results of his psych eval, he will be able to enjoy his shiny, well-earned Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day award, sent at great trouble and expense via Air Mail.


DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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  1. Man got a gun in his hand and the other dude in the lavender? outfit keeps advancing. Apparently they don’t screen for drugs amongst players or officials in this league.

  2. You guys need to read up on what happens to South American Soccer Ref’s.

    They are regularly beaten up or killed by fans and sometimes players.

    • Stupid people doing stupid things.

      If he was being threatened, let him take up arms. If he was being followed, let him take up arms. If he retreats, holsters up, and then returns to continue the match, brandishing when threatened – it’s questionable, but not awful.

      Once he leaves the field and is not being followed, returning to the field and the place of threats, only to brandish, he has gone too far.

  3. If there’s one thing I hate more than bad cops, it’s bad sports officials. That’s because I haven’t tangled with a bad cop yet. But in my baseball league, bad and worse umpires are all we get.
    I was playing in a tournament and we were down a couple runs in the last inning. They bring in their shortstop to pitch, who happens to play for the Korean National team. We don’t see that level of talent in a Sunday league. I am on deck and watch the batter go down watching 3 90+mph fastballs, one of which may actually have been in the strike zone.
    The batter argued and gets tossed.
    My turn. The first pitch is 10″ outside but the ump calls it a strike. I look back at the umpire and say “this kid is throwing hard enough. He doesn’t need any help from you”. Strike 2 is just as far outside but also low. The third pitch is up and away and I fan at it. Out of curiosity, I ask the ump if that would have been called a strike too. To that he threw me out as well.
    The first guy tossed yells to the umpire “Are you here tomorrow?”
    The umpire goes berserk claiming that was a threat and says “I’ve got something for you in my bag”. I ask him what it is. A knife, gun, club? I point out to him that he has just made a stupid threat and that I will report it to the league.
    I have a gun in my bag but I am damn sure not going to tell the whole park that during an argument.

    • So you questioned the first pitch, in a manner that impugned his integrity. You knew you were toast after that, right?

      In the wide, wide world of sports, the only thing worse than incompetent officials is players/coaches/parents who can’t deal with incompetent officials in an adult manner.

      • If hardly have called his first remark an impugning of integrity. As a former referee, I’d have rolled my eyes at short-of-creative banter, maybe responded with a joke and a smile in return.

        My guess is that the ump was having a hard time following the ball, and was getting flustered.

        It’s tough when something catches you off guard and you’re trying to manage the game while wrapping your head around the wrinkle while dealing with a bunch of angry spectators and players while trying to make sure that you aren’t impacting the outcome of the game while you really need just a few moments to gather your thoughts but you can’t interrupt the flow of the game and so you’re stuck. That’s still no call for the umps response. I’ve heard comments like that before – the righ answer is to eject the person from the area and give them three minutes to leave. If they aren’t gone, you stop the game and let them know the police have been called and are en route. You never issue a threat on your part towards anybody.

  4. That tall player that was walking towards him has either a huge ego or very few brains. Probably both. Who would walk towards someone with a gun an threaten him ? And why don’t they kick these guys off the field when the rough up the Refs ? Something is very wrong with their sports procedures there that this event occurred at all.


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