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Taekwondo star kicks referee in the face and is banned for life

 
 
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:29 pm
Quote:

http://ap.google.com/media/ALeqM5icC0h7JReIYX2MTKRBI6pFEJ7-4w?size=m

A Cuban taekwondo athlete and his coach were banned for life after Angel Matos kicked the referee in the face following his bronze-medal match disqualification.

Cuban coach Leudis Gonzalez offered no apology for Matos' actions during the men's over-80 kg (176 pounds) match.

Matos was winning 3-2, with 1:02 in the second round, when he fell to the mat after being hit by his opponent, Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov. He was sitting there, awaiting medical attention, when he was disqualified for taking too much injury time. Fighters get one minute, and Matos was disqualified when his time ran out.

Matos angrily questioned the call, pushed a judge, then pushed and kicked referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden. Matos then spat on the floor and was escorted out.


Associated Press

Matos and his coach were immediately banned for life by the World Taekwondo Federation, but what I don't get about cases like this is why these athletes aren't charged with assault and dealt with through the criminal justice systems.

He kicked a referee square in the face and drew blood, and this kind of thing shouldn't just be a sporting infraction, it should be treated as the crime that it is. Why are people content to just deal with this through sports banning and suspensions?
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:36 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Maybe an ego thing.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:42 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I presume proper behavior in longtime practice in taekwondo is to acknowledge the decision at the time and contest it later. I take this as way beyond unsportsmanlike and as directly against the principles of taekwondo. Anyway, I agree with you that it is assault, even assault with a deadly weapon... not unlike a javelin hurler using his javelin against the judging stand, way out of the box of just a bannable offense.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:43 pm
@roger,
I don't get it. Kermit Washington nearly killed Rudy Tomjanovich with a punch that fractured most of his face, and only got an NBA suspension for it. Why don't these guys face criminal charges?

Wikipedia Editors wrote:
Washington was engaged in a brawl when he saw Tomjanovich running towards the altercation. Washington, thinking someone was trying to hit him from behind, swung around and hit Tomjanovich with a violent roundhouse. The punch, which took Tomjanovich by surprise, fractured his face about 1/3 of an inch away from his skull and left Tomjanovich unconscious in a pool of blood in the middle of the arena. Players involved often say that right after Tomjanovich collapsed, the silence at the arena, filled with shocked fans, was "the loudest silence you have ever heard."[1] As it turned out, Tomjanovich came very close to dying on the court. Besides having the bone structure of his face detached from his skull, he was leaking blood and spinal fluid into his skull capsule. Tomjanovich would later recount that at the time of the incident, he believed a scoreboard fell on him.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Washington#.22The_Punch.22
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:47 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

Anyway, I agree with you that it is assault, even assault with a deadly weapon. Not unlike a javelin hurler using his javelin against the judging stand, way out of the box of just a bannable offense.


Exactly. In California kicks to the head in certain conditions is considered attempted murder. This wouldn't be one of those conditions but there's no way it's not a criminal assault and I'm baffled that authorities never seem to treat it that way, and are content to let the sporting authorities inflict their own suspensions in lieu of the criminal justice system doing their jobs.

Admittedly, being the Olympics this is an odd legal example but it seems like every thug in a sporting event gets a free pass from the criminal justice system. Just because it's a sport it doesn't mean laws no longer apply.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:53 pm
@Robert Gentel,
In both cases I tend to blame the coaches/coaching system and the larger arena of "must win" culture as well as Washington and Matos, but the individuals do hold key responsibility for the assaults.
0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 04:59 pm
Truly unsportsmanlike behaviour coupled with criminal intent. Banning is surely the least of what the punishment should be. Striking an opponent is one thing but to strike an official is beyond acceptable.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 06:42 pm
@Robert Gentel,
[quote="Robert Gentel"Matos and his coach were immediately banned for life by the World Taekwondo Federation, but what I don't get about cases like this is why these athletes aren't charged with assault and dealt with through the criminal justice systems.[/quote]
I don't know that cases like this can't to go through the criminal justice system, nor that they never do. But I can imagine why the professional organization would be the the more efficient institution for handling them.

For one thing, going through the criminal systems involves a choice of law. Whose criminal system? The offender's country's (Cuba), or the victim's country's (Sweden), or the host country (China)?

Then there's the question of due process -- does the rest of the world trust the Chinese and Cuban justice systems?

Then there's the question of getting the parties to the trial, which happens thousands of miles from at least one party's home. Would the offender have any incentive to show up?

Sure, handling it through an international professional association isn't perfect, but it could easily be the least imperfect solution available.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 06:53 pm
@Thomas,
I admitted above that this is a complicated legal example because it's the Olympics and jurisdictional issues come into play. But this happens all the time with similar results.

A couple of teenagers fighting can land them in jail, but athletes can do it on TV and never seem to get charged for it.

Now to be fair, I was about to cite Ron Artest in the Pacers-Pistons brawl till I remembered something about talk of trying to use criminal charges (which is when I first started thinking of why they didn't always do it). I looked it up and sure enough that threat was followed through:

Wikipedia Editors wrote:
On December 8, 2004 five Indiana players and five fans (John Green, William Paulson, John Ackerman, Bryant Jackson and David Wallace, the brother of Ben Wallace) were formally charged for assault and battery; Jermaine O'Neal and spectator John Green, who county prosecutor David Gorcyca said "single-handedly incited" the brawl by throwing a cup of liquid at Artest,[13] were charged with two counts, and Artest, David Harrison, Stephen Jackson, and Anthony Johnson were charged with one count each. Three fans, including David Wallace, received one count of the same charge, two fans (Charlie Haddad and A.J. Shackleford) who entered the court during the fight were charged for trespassing, and Bryant Jackson, who had prior criminal convictions, was charged with a felony assault for throwing a chair.[14] All of the fans involved were banned from attending Pistons games.[15]

On March 29, 2005, Bryant Jackson pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge for throwing the chair, and on May 3, 2005, he was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution.[16] David Wallace was also convicted, and sentenced to one year of probation and community service for punching Pacer guard Fred Jones from behind.[6]

All five players who were legally charged pleaded no contest to the charges. On September 23, 2005, after pleading no contest to their assault charges, Artest, O'Neal and Jackson were all sentenced to one year on probation, 60 hours of community service, and a $250 fine.[17] A week later, Harrison received the same sentence,[18] and on October 7, 2005, Johnson, the last player to be charged, also received the same sentence.[19]

On March 27, 2006 a jury found Green guilty on one count of assault and battery for punching Artest in the stands, but acquitted him of an assault charge for throwing the cup. On May 1, 2006, Green was sentenced, and received 30 days in jail and two years' probation.[20] On November 7, 2006, the Pistons issued a letter to Green informing him that he was banned for life from attending any Pistons home games.[21]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacers-Pistons_brawl#Legal_charges

So there's an example of what I think should happen more often.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:01 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Haven't read the pacers pistons thing yet, but pipe in to say that sports brawls don't cause other brawls, just as design doesn't cause human behavior/nature, but sports brawls exist as examples of presumed ok as long as they are put up with and no other mode/code gains strength against the adrenalin of the brawls.

So we have, if not triggers, 'instances' on tv with little punishment, and teenagers acting out, perhaps viciously, getting the book slammed.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:02 pm
@ossobuco,
(what would Toshiro Mifune say?)
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:22 pm
@Robert Gentel,
How about hockey...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourview/2007/03/chris_simon_may_be_charged_by_7.html
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:29 pm
@Rockhead,
I was actually searching my brain for some hockey examples I knew I had in there. Thing is, there were some that I thought were not as bad as others and then I started getting into criteria.

For example, I rejected the Mike Tyson ear-biting because it was a fight where the violence was between parties that agreed to it. Sure it broke the rules but I didn't view that as that criminal.

So I ruled out a lot of excessive violence in the games, like a hockey example where I think the aggressor caused severe injury mostly by accident even if it was overboard. Hockey makes that a tough one to call because of the fighting inherent in the games.

For example, had the Angel Matos had simply attacked the other fighter I'm not sure if I would be as quick to call it a crime.

And I think in all of that thinking I am onto what the answer to my question is: when the fighting goes outside the participants of the sport, charges seem to be much more common. So maybe society thinks that within the sport these excesses of violence are job risks that the participants agree to and that should be punished by their own peers.

Not sure if I agree with that but it seems to be a pattern, and it makes some sense.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2008 07:40 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Delmon Young (fine upstanding young man...) Throws his bat at an Umpire.

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/38626/

American sports are full of bad sorts who would be criminals elsewhere...
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 12:33 am
Damned if I know why such folk are not dealt with in the criminal system more...but it resembles a lot what tends to happen in my kind of field, and in the medical area, where assaults by clients are frequently not treated as criminal matters (even where the client concerned is fully compos mentis).

I think it is being regarded more seriously now, but, when I was working in a hospital, I had to treat a number of staff for the sequelae of serious criminal assault by patients, and they were actively hindered...or FORBIDDEN (by what goddam alleged power I have no idea, but they felt sufficiently intimidated by nursing directors and such not to take my advice to make a police statement) from reporting the assault to police.

I don't know about the sporting area, where I suspect some of it has to do with the ridiculous reverence given to sports stars, but in my area it seemed to be some kind of unthought out devotion to client service, plus almost a sense of shame or guilt about one's lack of skill that one had been unable to keep the abusive person gruntled and calm.

Of course, some people are better at managing difficult people (most assaults at what used to be my local welfare office were directed at 3 particular staff, who sucked, frankly, in their people skills) .



Crowd violence, by the way, DOES seem to be taken seriously as a criminal matter? Or not?

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Aug, 2008 11:22 am
@dlowan,
Trying to remember about some soccer hooliganism in sicily or perhaps basilicata that got way out of hand re the police controlling it. I think there were arrests and they shut down the stadium for a while, but will have to verify.
0 Replies
 
 

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