More news from the mellow world of Spanish officialdom, a day after the soft punishment for Cristiano Ronaldo’s mixed martial arts display last weekend.
When an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush in 2008, the man was wrestled to the ground, injured, allegedly tortured and sentenced to three years in prison. Spanish soccer is a little more lenient regarding footwear-related acts of aggression towards authority figures. For instance, here’s Atlético Madrid midfielder Arda Turan flinging a boot towards an assistant referee during their Copa del Rey loss to Barcelona on Wednesday.
A reasonable person might conclude that flinging a leathery, cleated missile in the direction of several people, including a kid, would be an act of violent conduct punishable by a red card. But referee Jesus Gil Manzano only yellow-carded Turan, suggesting he categorized the misconduct as dissent. The rest of the Atleti team picked up the slack, however, collecting ten yellow cards in all, and ultimately having two players sent off.
That may not even be the most remarkable thing about the incident. Take a look at the assistant. He doesn’t flinch. He doesn’t even appear to notice what’s happened right in front of his face; or if he does, he ignores it and maintains his eagle-eyed focus on the play. Now that’s professionalism. Or maybe a peripheral vision problem warranting a prompt visit to an eye doctor — and perhaps reconsideration of his chosen career.