Comments about ‘Soccer referee punched during game dies of injuries’

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Published: Saturday, May 4 2013 11:25 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Sad object lesson about how losing your temper can ruin the rest of your life (or the life of another).

Aurora, CO

I am so sorry!! So many lives damaged by this one foolish mistake! May God bless all involved.

Orange County, CA


Thanks for your thoughtful, sensitive comments.

I'm sad for everyone involved.

May all of us look for ways to improve how we treat one another!

Layton, UT

I feel so sad for this family. They lost their father because somebody lost their temper. It's SPORTS people, just a sport! Not worth punching somebody over in a temper tantrum gone wrong.

My heart aches for this family, and the boy who did it---I know he didn't intend on killing the referee---but sports should not be so important that one feels they need to react AT ALL. Even if the referee were wrong in judgement, it's JUST A SPORT.

Santa Monica, CA

I've always heard it said that we are reaching a tipping point in our obsession with violence and coddling athletes and raising entitled children--that one day this would all lead to a terrible tragedy. Well, I guess that all of those things have come together in a perfect storm and a tragedy so horrible that it simply makes you want to give up on humanity. The 17 year old goalie is responsible. And so am I. And so are you.

Eugene, OR


"...race issues existed but were distant."

Really? In the 50s? With all due respect, you must have read a different history book than I did.

My condolences to Mr. Portillo's family.

Salt Lake City, UT

Life in our culture today has become so cheapened that if you don't like what someone says, does
or even how they look at you, you feel free to retaliate.
I feel so sorry for these young girls who have lost their father to such a stupid, uncalled reaction, whether right or wrong his call.
This young man should be tried as an adult as an example to other youth of his age that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
Every life is precious and until this is respected we will continue to have incidents such as this.

Ogden, UT

Our condolences to the Portillo family. This is sad.

Salt Lake City, UT

Deepest sympathies to the Portillo family. This is not an American problem, it is a world problem. Violence among fans and players has escalated both here and abroad. At many sporting events it is acceptable, if not expected, to throw items and direct vulgarity at opposing fans or teams. That culture incites violence and increases with each season. This tragic event was a product of that evolution. Addressing the problem is long overdue. What a sad wake up call.

West Jordan, UT

I can only echo what Eliyahu from Pleasant Grove had to say, we know nothing of this boy or his family so to judge his parents would be very unfair. Look around,how many kids with a very good upbringing do things that are unimaginable.

To me the greater issue is with our society in general that glamorizes violent behavior. We are in a precarious position and unless we bring ethics and morality back in to our society the position will only worsen. People are so excited about gun laws these days but the issue runs so much deeper.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

These "leagues" need to be chartered with some organization. While no money can ever compensate for a family's loss of their father, there will be medical expenses etc. Something tells me the boy's family would be unable to provide any financial compensation. But organized leagues usually have charters and catastrophic insurance policies. Some leagues also provide sportsmanship classes for parents, players etc. as a mandatory thing before participation. Also, there is no way as a school or school district, if I was in charge, let these leagues play on their field unless they had a charter with a legitimate organization. My heart goes out to this family of this referee. This is a very sad situation and I hope the local community can rally around his family.

Salt Lake City, UT

The man was not repeatedly beaten, nor was this an attempt on his life. It was a punch that resulted in a small injury, which due to other physical circumstances with this man resulted in an increase of problems which lead to his death.

If they 'throw the book' at this kid, we ought to punish every punch in America the same way.

I feel for this man's family, but we have no place casting stones at this kid. Give him community service and an anger management class if you want. But a felony is ridiculous. It's a farce, not justice. If any of you demanding more have EVER thrown a punch, even ONCE your life then you are as guilty as this boy.

One life was lost, many lives are in pain. We don't need to ruin another and hurt his loved ones anymore than they already are. I will be watching the judge of this boy very closely.

Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO

A great thing that could come out of this would be a reexamination of sportsmanship and perspective. One of the worst things that could come from this would be (as JBQ advocates) charging this boy as an adult or charging him at all for things such as manslaughter. As others have posted, hitting someone in the head is something we condone as sport (boxing, MMA...). Fights, while not to be condoned, do happen and this outcome was a fluke. Nothing the legal system can do or would attempt to do would serve society in this matter or punish this player beyond the remorse which he will already feel. The opportunity exists (again) to show forgiveness... and to let the boy and his parents chart a course of restitution... where one life sadly remains taken, but not exacerbating the tragedy by taking two lives. And yes, taking whatever steps which help soccer and youth sports, and all sports, be better, safer and kept in perspective.

Oceanside, CA

Part of soccer's internationally recognized "hooligan" mentality practiced by both its players and fans. It is not a gentlemen's sport. So sad to see this happen to a good family man who truly loved the sport. He however, was a gentleman.

Salt Lake City, UT

My deepest sympathies to the family.

May we all look into the mirror and put sports into perspective, and elevate our own behavior.

Ogden, UT

"Soccer is a gentleman's sport in South America (Continent, not country), but not in the US"? Seriously? They have armed guards for the refs leaving games, and people die in violence every year! In South America". Apart from this unfortunate incident, how many soccer-related deaths do we have here in the past decade?

Beaverton, OR

A blow to the head can kill anyone. The subdural hematoma is very life-threatening, with a very slim chance on recovery.

Please be kind - and really think before you act in haste. That ten second counting can save a life.

How we all wish we could just roll back time and stop this from happening. There are so many affected by this tragedy - the family, the friends, the young man and his family, and the players of the league with the refs.

My heart goes out to them all.

Mom Johnson
West Jordan, UT


I was a High School Dance Coach and one of my team members did not make the cut to perform at half time because she did not follow the rules of the team and did not know the routine. She admitted to rule breaking and not knowing the routine yet her father stood behind the fence where I was standing, during the half time performance, with the rest of the team surrounding me and threw himself at the fence, swearing at me in an outrage. The only thing the school administration did was send a police to escort me off of the field. They should have removed the angry father. For many years I have thought of that and the anger that the father had over one missed performance. It still scares me that there are parent's who disregard rules and regulations when allowing their children to participate in activities. It also says a lot about the school systems that no longer support teachers/coaches/etc. because they are afraid of law suits.


This was criminal assault. People seem to assume that the killer will only have his conscience to punish him. I disagree. Firstly his conscience doesn't seem been very active or to have held him back from an attack with no provocation (other than the normal disciplinary procedures which you must expect in any sport). I believe the killer is in custody; he should be tried as an adult in my opinion.

I hope this will be a sobering moment for sports in the schools and anywhere else. Discipline needs to be stricter and violence should not be tolerated.

I have often stated to my spouse that some of the violent attacks by players in professional sports are criminal assaults and should all result in the criminal prosecution of their perpetrators. This is not sport and not sportsmanlike.

It is also to be hoped that early warning signs of violence and bad sportsmanship in young players should be handled betimes.

Christian 24-7
Murray, UT

Every time a parent, coach, fan yells at a ref, the young people are watching. I am sure there were many people who influenced this 17 year old's choice to hit the official.

I hope the results will influence many more to choose more wisely.

PS At ReAL games many choose to yell "U-tah" instead of "you-suck..." at the opposing team's goalie kicks. Man would be better served if everyone chose to respect everyone else, even those wearing an opponents or officials uniform.

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