Wednesday 25 January 2012

Pepe Le Pew — What a Stinker Part 2

This post follows on from Part 1, in a match where Real Madrid's Pepe is causing mayhem on the pitch.

Incident Four Pepe Stamps on Star Player Messi

In the 67', Real Madrid substitute Jose Callejon (white 21) makes a reckless challenge on Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi who is tripped while in full flight. Messi tumbles and crashes to the ground. As Referee César Muñiz Fernández takes out his yellow card to caution Callejon, the following incident happens. Here are the freeze frames:
Pepe looks down at where he is stamping

Pepe knows Messi is in pain behind him yet continues to argue with the Referee

Notice how Pepe's right foot comes down heel first and next to his left foot, which indicates a stamping motion ... as opposed to a natural stepping or walking motion had he been moving away from Messi

If Pepe was genuinely walking away from Messi, his right foot would not come down heel first right next to his left foot. That is not a natural walking motion to help move away from a player who is down on the ground.

Note 1: In such situations, a measure of a player's empathy is whether he can sympathize with another person's situation. Hypothetically if Pepe had accidentally stepped on (let alone stamped on) one of his team-mate's hand, what would Pepe have done? Shown concern, of course, and walked back to check on him. Most people can tell the difference between putting their foot down on the grass pitch and putting it down on someone's hand. For Pepe to walk away and blatantly ignore what is happening behind him is genuinely ungentlemanly conduct.

Media Note: It is frustrating, but understandable (given the climate of libel and lawsuits), how much of the media mentioned the deliberate stamping incident with sentences like: "Pepe appeared to stand on Messi's hand", "Pepe's apparent stamp on Messi's hand" and "Pepe appears to stamp on the hand of Lionel Messi".

Note 2: Whenever a player is on the ground, all match officials must be vigilant and aware that something bad can potentially erupt. I have observed similar incidents in matches at all levels where Referees are simply not aware of the devious and unsporting antics that some players can get up to. See example of a stamping incident here in a Hong Kong match (see Unpleasant Incidents in Hong Kong).

It is hoped that retrospective action will be taken against the unsporting behaviour of Pepe. His stamp on Lionel Messi's hand was no accident. At the professional and highest levels, there are no "accidents". Such players who plead innocent are like 'slimy villains in daytime soaps who intentionally over-act'.

Follow Up:
The Spanish FA (RFEF) has announced it will take no action against Real Madrid defender Pepe over his alleged stamp on the hand of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Incident Five Pepe Kicking Fabregas and Then Claiming He Was Kicked By Fabregas

In the 75', Pepe (white 4) is menacingly hounding Fabregas (red/blue 4) from behind as Fabregas protects the ball. Pepe takes three kicks at Fabregas from behind, with no chance in getting the ball, and then audaciously tries to claim a foul by indicating that Fabregas had somehow kicked him. Here are the freeze frames:
Kick once
Kick twice
Kick thrice
Pepe (white 3) claims Fabregas (red/blue 4) kicked him

The Referee, who was stood motionless about 15 yards away as all this happened, finally whistled for a foul against Pepe. Fabregas is to be admired and commended for not reacting to Pepe's antics and unsporting behaviour.

Pepe is subbed off soon after, and then Barcelona score the winning goal.

Although this two-part post focused on Pepe's negative and unsporting behavior, he was not the only Real Madrid player to dish out the dirty tackles on Barcelona players, and particularly on Lionel Messi (see this news article)

The second leg of this Copa del Rey quarter-final will be played on Wednesday 25 January 2012 at the Nou Camp.

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