In a collegiate match against BYU, University of New Mexico defensive player Elizabeth Lambert was caught on tape punching, kicking and pulling an opponent's hair. While the violent infractions went largely unnoticed by the referee, subsequent video compilations have gone viral on the internet and cable television and prompted a lot of commentary:
Even if she overreacted, she was provoked: Keep in mind, in several instances Lambert is "retaliating for chippy play from the [BYU] Cougars," says Dashiell Bennett at Deadspin. "A Cougar throws an elbow, Lambert throws a punch to the shoulder blades. Another pulls her shorts, she pulls her hair. Another steps on her foot, she sends one of their guys to the morgue." Apparently, that kind of two-for-one payback is "the New Mexico way."
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Soccer has always been a rough game, and hard play is typical: Many Americans might not think of soccer as full contact, but it can be brutal, "especially in the top-flight European leagues, where jersey pulls and raps on the shins are basically part of the fabric of the game," says Andy Hutchins at The Sporting News. "The shocker is that only one yellow card came out in this game, which seems wildly out of proportion to the amount of brutality."
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Sure, soccer is rough, but she's completely beyond the pale: Lambert's play wasn't "just take things too far"--no, "she'd need a map to find her way back to 'too far,'" says Graham Hays at ESPN. How potentially dangerous this kind of illegal play can be was illustrated by an injury to "one of Rutgers' best players, Ashley Jones, who was loaded into an ambulance less than a month ago with a compound fracture of her tibia and fibula after a collision in a particularly physical game."
"Physicality a part of women's soccer"
Where were the cops?: Lambert's actions were "insane," says Ryan Green at the Las Vegas Sun. "How she wasn't taken off the premises in handcuffs and a squad car is almost a crime in its own right."
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