Comments about ‘D.A. weighing criminal charges against teen soccer player’

Return to article »

Published: Monday, May 6 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Salt Lake City, UT

President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

"There are hardened criminals who may have to be locked up. There are unspeakable crimes, such as deliberate murder and rape, that justify harsh penalties. But there are some who could be saved from long, stultifying years in prison because of an unthoughtful, foolish act. Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way."

I guess I'm praying for a miracle.

Salt Lake City, UT

I guess along with that quote I should explain myself before everyone criticizes me again.

I have followed this case carefully and will continue to follow the DA and judge. I hope and pray they show mercy in their application of justice.

I would hope we want justice to uplift rather than inflict vengeance. Justice can in fact served to help the sinner. My opinion is unpopular. Its critics say I am seeking to deny justice; that is a lie.

Wishing to help the boy in juvenile court serves both justice, and mercy for helping the boy rather than breaking him. I will not cast stones at him. That isn't a crime. I want justice AND I want the boy to have a hopeful future. Those who demand only the first and reject the latter want vengeance, not justice.

Justice isn't about inflicting something in return. It's about teaching people to live upright. The juvenile court will do that. The court for adults will not. An adult prison will not. I don't want to harden the boy. I want to help him. That is not wrong or unjust. It's both compassionate and just.

Woods Cross, UT

I agree Sean. Well said.

Ivins, UT

Prisons and jails are full of people who act impulsively, giving no thought to the consequences of their actions and choices. Impulsivity is a very negative character trait full of danger and destgruction. Weigh carefully the results of an impulsive act. Stop and think things out. What happens in seconds could influence your future life for years.

Murder, theft, assault, rape, angry words, thoughtless behavior all have eternal negative conseqauences.

Sugar City, ID

If the young man has a clean record and his behavior is uncharacteristic of past behavior, then he should be tried as a juvenile. But, if what he did is part of a pattern of violent behavior, then perhaps it would be best for him and for the safety of society if he is tried as an adult.

I worry about the violence in sports. My grandson (10 years old) has been asked to play in a better soccer league because he is very good. But I don't know if he should. It seems that the more involved a young man is in sports, the greater the chance he will be corrupted by participation. To say nothing about permanent injury.

I think all of society would be a lot better off if the public schools did not sponsor athletics. Inter-mural sports could involve a lot more students, they are safer and perhaps the students involved would learn good sportsmanship rather than violence and cheating.

Tooele, UT

Re: "I would hope we want justice to uplift rather than inflict vengeance."

We all hope the same.

But, it's not merciful, to malefactors, or their future victims, to release them with too lenient a penalty. It permits, even enables predation directed toward future victims.

Burden's on this young tough to demonstrate he's not a danger, that he deserves extraordinary leniency. Courts'll examine his record for previous crime, any reproach he feels for current actions, and his motivation to avoid the occasion to fail again.

It doesn't look good for him so far. He appears to have no champions among those that know him. Only naive liberal bleeding hearts, inexperienced with this and other criminals, have so far come forward to demand leniency.

The enormity of his crime, not just the horrendous result, suggests this miscreant is not an ingenue. Time will tell, of course, but I believe jails are full of his type. And, permitting him to avoid a lengthy sentence of his own would send precisely the wrong message to others similarly situated.

Dietrich, ID

How much violence is there in HS sports though? If you physically assault an official you can no longer play sports on the High School team. Some skirmishes happen but most of the players play the game let coaches and officials do there jobs. An official is a thankless job as someone is mad at you. Some of my favorite memories were playing High School sports. I attended the State Tournament and before and after the game seeing players hug there teammates and even some cases opponents. Many of the Athletes are better citizens. That person that assaulted a player and volunteer now he was not kind. No one deserves to be hit since you disagree with the call.

Bountiful, UT

The ref's family should be allowed to have serious in put on the decision of the DA. This is just a massive tragedy.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mercy and forgiveness are individual virtues. Justice will hopefully result from the judicial system. Both can work simultaneously, but don't confuse the two.

Provo, UT

Notice we call the assailant a 'boy' when we hope for mercy. He's definitely a boy when it comes to emotional control but a man when it comes to physical muscle.

I would still hate to see him enter the prison system. Perhaps he could be required to earn a degree in a high-paying career then have his wages garnered and given to the victim's family and for the rest of his life.

West Jordan, UT

The bottom line here is that the culture of youth sports must be fixed. There can be no tolerance for egregious behaviors that are unsportsmanlike. The death of this referee is such a senseless tragedy.

Durham, NC

Ah the cries of "bleeding heart liberal".... from the conservative crowd... like being called that should be offensive. Me, I am a bleeding heart moderate. Not ashamed of it at all, and here is why. In this life, our ability to extract "justice" is extremely limited. I worry about this kid going into a gang infested environment, and coming out worse than he went in. But his actions can't be ignored, and a price must be paid.

At the extreme, taking one life for the loss of another life doesn't restore anything to the victim. On the other hand, probation for someone who kills another in an auto accident doesn't come close to justice either. This case lies somewhere in between. Striking the ref was not an accident... it was an overt act. On the other hand, it would be hard to argue the kid intended to kill. Getting "justice" right here is nearly impossible.

That is why I have complete faith in the Lords judgement. In this earthly existence, we do our best to serve justice, but will always come up short. We have to have faith in the ultimate judgement to make things right.

Riverdale, UT

I have long had concerns about attitudes in athletics. I've often heard announcers praise an athlete who can cheat, and that athletes should learn how to break the rules without getting caught. I haven't heard this on sleazy shows, but on mainstream shows such as BYU TV, KUTV, and of course, professional sports. I had personal experience with this when I was younger, which caused me to give up on sports entirely.

I had always wanted my four sons to participate in athletics as they went through school, but I eventually stopped encouraging them as I noticed problems like this and others become epidemic. In fact, one son was a great soccer player, but he chose to leave the game for similar reasons. He decided to officiate games, and he came to enjoy them in spite of the disrespect and threats he received when he tried to do a good job. He finally quit that as well, because a player's FATHER had threatened him so violently, my son decided it just wasn't worth it.

Riverdale, UT

Sorry if I am saying too much about myself here, but, this is an issue I feel very passionately is a big problem in our society, even in the Church’s athletic programs which are established for good and honorable purposes, and generally run by good people.
I recall that in basketball classes I took at BYU way, way back when, I was ridiculed by the coach when I complained privately that his teaching methods were encouraging cheating and violence, but the instructor just chewed me out in front of the class for "being a cry baby", and other things, referring to efforts others were making to clean up the program with disdain, and continued to teach the kids how to do things which were wrong, and especially, how to get away with them. Coincidently, the kind of play he taught resulted in a rather serious cut under my chin which needed quite a few stitches, that very day. It didn't seem to affect him at all. I wonder how many other coaches and teachers teach like that, and if their teaching has an effect on young men which results in tragedies like this one.

Cottonwood Heights, UT


Here is where the "what if's" are gonna undermine this situation. Justice, she is blind, and for a reason. What is wrong with our society is not the laws and those enforcing the laws, but the people who feel that the laws do not apply to them or those like them. The debate is not about conservatism or liberalism, but the application of the law. And I quote, "the unlawful taking of another's life". If that happened, then he needs to be convicted of that crime. If you disagree with that outcome, change the law!

The issue here is that too many people are not afforded the right to suffer the consequences of their behavior. We want to control bullying and we want to protect our families, but we do not want to do what is necessary to do so.

Lastly, quoting the prophet is blasphemy. President Hinckley also spoke about personal responsibility on more than one occasion. My heart goes out to the both families.


I'm torn on this one. This kid's violent actions removed a father figure from a home with 3 kids, he removed a breadwinner, making the family's future endeavors that much harder. He has no idea what he did because he cannot fathom what that means, to be a father of 3.
Hitting the referee is probably one of the most taboo things you can do on the field. This isn't the actions of a naive innocent boy. It's the actions of someone who is willing to break one of the most important rules in the game.
Justice for the family will never be attained to satisfaction, the sin is unforgivable. What thoughtless actions.
On that same note, it seems a shame to ruin two lives. This young boy and his inability to see the consequences of hitting an old man will now haunt him for a long time, probably in prison.
@rfpeterlin, as for blasphemy, I doubt President Hinckley would even agree with you one bit about that, you are entitled to you opinion, but his writings are there for all to read and use as they are prompted to do so.

Layton, UT

The last thing this youth needs is to be made to feel like he's being victimized by the Justice system by having to face the consequences of his actions.

I agree in Mercy, but it's a troubling crime. A life was lost. How many murders do people get before we apply the law?

So he couldn't control his temper--what evidence do we have that if mercy is shown, that he will be able to live out the rest of his life never again being violent?

Kaysville, UT

It appears this league has had a history of violence as this same referee has had multiple attacks and not just the ones where he was injured. The league has responsibility in ensuring that the game is as safe as possible as soccer can be. It is really a non-contact sport and should not have very many abuses with players and definitely with referees. The lady who had the rock dropped on her car was still alive even though seriously injured. The Portillo family isn't that fortunate. I have seen two countries go to war over a soccer game. This may be a learning experience, and if this is within DA Gill's area, he has plenty experience on determining cases with WVC very recently. The system should work and even though not perfect, hopefully, the League will be a part of that process. Coaches, families, players, and spectators all have a part in ensuring violence is not on the field. Players for years have been given yellow or red cards for their actions. This player didn't get the black card for his actions but there is a price for what grief/pain he caused Mr. Portillo.


rfpeterlin; Blasphemy? I seriously doubt it. not according to the definition of blasphemy.


Wouldn't it be nice if sportsmanship was taught. Playing a hard game and being a good opponent can be as rewarding as winning. Although winning is undoubtedly the ultimate goal, how you get there is VERY important. Lance Armstrong and many others can testify that falling from grace sucks.
Being a good sport and being an honorable opponent is what needs to be taught at a young age. So the culture of sports can change.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments