The NWSL Wasn’t All Fun and Games this Weekend…

Soccer is a game that we all love. You and I both wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case. (And thanks Hamish and Kieran for asking me to blog here- I am unworthy to be in such amazing company!)

But sometimes things around the game happen that are quite disappointing. As I settled in to watch the four NWSL games this past weekend, an event on both Saturday and Sunday fit this description.

I’ll start with the most recent.

During the Seattle Reign vs Washington Spirit game (the first NWSL game broadcast on tv!) Seattle’s Kaylyn Kyle and Washington’s Ali Krieger both went up for a 50/50 ball and hit heads. Both fell to the ground, and after a short time Kyle returned to play while Krieger was subbed out where it was reported she underwent concussion testing.

A flood of tweets then littered twitter, either @ mentioning Kaylyn Kyle directly or just including her name. These tweets included threats saying how some wanted to kill Kyle or punch her in the face, coming from people who obviously are fans of Krieger and harbour some ill placed hate against Kyle. You can look up the exact tweets if you want, though I’m sure many have been deleted.

Kaylyn Kyle issues her response

Kaylyn Kyle issues her response

These players do not exist for our personal enjoyment. For a player to ever have to respond to these tweets like Kyle later did is disgraceful. If someone can’t watch a game without hurling threats behind a computer screen, then they should be banished to the Phantom Zone. (Superman reference anyone? No? Ok.) Or their television should self-destruct, at the very least.

In all seriousness, it’s disheartening that tweets like these were sent about and to Kyle just days after it was announced that police are investigating twitter threats sent to the Montreal Impact’s Davy Arnaud. John Molinaro, a Toronto-based journalist, explored this same issue of ‘fandoms’ crossing the line in an article last Friday. (Go give it a read after this. It is a great piece and Molinaro is absolutely correct.)

Let’s hope one of these days people realize, even in a moment of stress, this sort of thing is not acceptable, however empty the threats may be.

The other event happened on Saturday night, during the broadcast of the Sky Blue FC home game. During the match, a terrible comment and subsequent reaction was issued by the two Sky Blue play-by-play commentators.

Here in the broadcast (at 1:27:25) one commentator mentioned an unfortunate event that occurred last week in Brazil where a soccer referee (and another player) were brutally murdered. The comments were as follows:

“We treat the refs with respect unlike what happened down in Brazil. If you heard about that.” And the other commentator proceeded to actually laugh for a few seconds and say “I’m not getting involved.”

Is it really too much to ask for 90 minutes of commentating that is void of such disgusting interactions as that one? Why bring up that horrible incident, then proceed to laugh about it on a video where thousands are intently watching and listening?

Don’t stand for this kind of nonsense. To ignore the laugh to that comment and the overall unprofessional nature of it would be doing a disservice to women’s soccer fans and the exceptional soccer players on the field.

If you are upset about the broadcast, then I urge you to politely email your grievances to a combination of Sky Blue FC’s CEO, Director of Operations and Operations Manager whose emails can be found on their website here.

This sort of thing is not complaining; it’s asking for human decency.

As a group that cares, lets collectively demand better, from fellow “fans” and commentators alike.

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