“Don’t bother giving out to the referee, he won’t change his mind,” is a sentiment we hear on sports fields all over the country – in all sports. However, there is now an exception to that rule and it came in America’s Major League Soccer.
This incredible scene occured when DC United’s Luciano Acosta got tangled up with opponent Haris Medunjanin of Philadelphia Union. It was an innocuous-looking foul but Acosta wasn’t complaining too much. That was until he was brandished with a red card.
However, due to an incredible moment of sportsmanship, Medunjanin asked the referee to not send off Acosta. The ref then consulted with his linesman and decided to call Acosta back onto the field and he resumed his position.
— VZ goal (@VZGoal) June 25, 2017
When asked why he helped an opponent stay on the field, Medunjanin said, via Goal.com:
“I went to the referee and he said ‘He kicked you’ and I said ‘I don’t think he kicked me, I think it was just a push’. So it was no red card for me,” Medunjanin after the game.
This incredible bit of honesty is welcome in the game. With an increasing in-at-all-costs mentality in football, and sport in general, this act of fair play was great to see.
It also re-opens the debate over video technology. With the use of the Video Assistant Referee in the Confederations Cup, decisions like this will lead to calls for the use of technology across the board in the sport. Had it not been for the incredible honesty of the Union player, DC United would have been down to 10 men.
Despite the honesty, Philadelphia Union won the game 1-0 anyway – thanks in large part to a super injury time save from their goalkeeper. The Union are up to ninth in the Eastern Conference with the win – leap-frogging DC United with Saturday’s result.
You can watch the highlights from the game below:
Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena