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A collection of stories and information about those whose lives were not only cut short, but were killed on stage, in front of an audience. We honor the ones who lived to entertain us, but who never expected their deaths would occur in the spotlight.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Return To The Blog: Soccer Referee Is A Dangerous Job



It has been a crazy summer and fall this year, that’s for sure. There’s been a lot for me to catch up on. SeaWorld and the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau continues to make news after the park appealed an OSHA decision limiting trainer interaction with orca whales. The tragic death of Cirque du Soleil acrobat Sarah Guillot-Guyard in a Las Vegas show drew attention to safety issues with harnesses. Wing walker Jane Wicker and her pilot Charlie Schwenker died while preforming at an airshow June 22 in Ohio. There have been several racing related accidents that resulted in drivers’ deaths, and certainly more stories that I’ve missed on my brief attempt at scanning the headlines.

The one story that grabbed my attention the most, however, was the news in July of a soccer game in Brazil, where referee Otavio da Silva and player Josenir dos Santos Abreu got into an altercation during a match. Referee Da Silva apparently decided that the best way to end the argument was to stab Abreu, even though his family, fans and teammates were watching the scene play out. Abreu eventually died of his wound. Fans decided to punish da Silva and in a textbook case of mob mentality brutally killed the referee. 

A Deadspin article states, “They reportedly tied up the referee, beat him, stoned him, lynched him, and then quartered him. When they finished, they cut off his head and placed it on a stake in the center of the field.” There was an attempt at finding and arresting the ones who killed da Silva, but as of the last reports I have heard only one arrest was made. The article also provides a link to a video of what appears to be hospital staff trying to reassemble da Silva’s body like a jigsaw puzzle. I have been known to link to brutal videos from this blog before, but I’m going to leave it out in this case. I have the stomach for it, but I’m not sure too many other people do. It is truly stomach-churning, so be careful, dear reader, if you decided to look for it.

That story makes the other major soccer ref death seem tame by comparison. A Utah teenage soccer player punched referee Ricardo Portillo during a game in Salt Lake City on April 27. Portillo fell into a coma and died May 4. The teen has been charged with manslaughter, and due to the fact that he was 17 at the time, could be charged as an adult.

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