When the Red Card isn’t Enough: A Philosophical Dilemma

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The design of the red card penalty is as a deterrent and ultimate hammer for players actively engaged in a contest. It notes an expulsion from the current contest and then typically a 1 game suspension from subsequent competition.

An advisory board can even rule a longer suspension (two or three games) due to the severity of the penalty.

But ideally the card is meant to stop dangerous play before it happens, the embodiment of ‘carry a big stick’ to the yellow card’s ‘speak softly’.

Teddy Roosevelt quotes applied to soccer penalty policy? Can do.

So what happens when the card doesn’t stop a player, but it enrages him further?

Just that scenario occurred at a low-level club competition in Turkey:

A player receives a well deserved straight red, and well, he doesn’t just walk away and accept it, learning his lesson. In fact he shows the referee just how powerless he is by attacking the player he initially fouled.

I know what you’re thinking,

‘Surely this is an isolated incident, most professionals accept their card with grace and walk off with their humility and dignity in-tact.’

Yeah, sorta, not really.

Sometimes a red card leads to full-out brawls. For example this double red-card that did little to keep the two teams from continuing to maul one another:

Even when it doesn’t cause a fight, players tend to act, well childish when they’re told they won’t be playing any more today because  they can’t seemingly play nice.

It isn’t clear whether Alhaji Kamara is crying or screaming or both, but it does sure make him look like a baby as he runs off the pitch wailing:

Espen Hoff tried to save his rage for the locker room, but the camera still caught his reaction to his red card on film too.

And if you still aren’t convinced or you’re thinking, ‘well boys will be boys,’ don’t worry we saved this shockingly violent penalty footage for last.

It’d be a mistake to assume that when ladies commit fouls or get carded they accept it with a curtsy and ‘thank you sir’.

So what are referees to do, when faced with unruly players who don’t respect the power of the red plastic card?
A few solutions have been proposed, one amateur ref who happens to be a cop during the day pulled his gun on players that threatened him after being carded. At 22 seconds you can see the players start running,

Another ref decided to try and settle it with his hands which naturally unleashed chaos.

He smacks one player in the face who flops, obviously not understanding the ref isn’t going to eject himself no matter how hurt he acts. The ref then throws a mean kick around the body of someone trying to protect him for good measure.

So maybe that’s the best we can hope for?

Referees start lifting hard and looking like NFL linebackers so that when players decide the red card isn’t enough, a good old fashioned beat down is in order?

We elect Terry Crews to lead the way.

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