14 thoughts

    • I think he’s got a great shot. Yergler, Hadzic, Watson, all looking pretty good to do that. Alen got immensely better this last year. Don’t count him out.

  1. Telling another fencer “It’s a fucking pool bout, man…” is VASTLY different than telling a referee “You’re fucking up at your job.”

  2. Pingback: A Black Card Too Far?

  3. This should not in my opinion be a black card but more of a Group III red card warning, giving Alen a chance to cool down and then decide his own fate either by his fencing or the way he used his words for the rest of the competition

    Except Mr. Hadzic already had a Group III red card (justly or unjustly), for saying “god damn it” (disrupting order). Because of this, the referee had no choice but to show a black card for the second Group III red card offense of disrupting order.

    I should reiterate that I make no judgment as to whether the first red card was appropriate. That said, Mr. Hadzic gave the referee an excuse to black card him with his hot-tempered remark. When you hand an unarmed man a loaded gun, your subsequent surprise at then being shot is a bit hollow.

  4. I have to say that based on the explanations of those you interviewed, and given what I know if each of them, (nothing of the fencers, but I do know and respect Charles Greene) I can’t imagine this not being a black card offense. There’s a rules book, and when you’re at a tournament that’s being judged by those rules you should fully expect to abide by those rules. When someone describes something you do as “When he was unhooking he dropped his mask a little harder than I would have liked…” You can’t “drop” a mask harder than you would have liked. Which means he threw it. Try to candy coat it all you want because you’ve been there before, but it is what it is which was a tantrum.

    That bout was likely already lost at 4-2, and to get upset about the card enough to rage about a POOL bout is pretty idiotic. Yes, I agree it was just a pool bout, so take your red card and the loss and move on to fence your next bout. Show a little self-control. Don’t throw a temper tantrum on the strip and expect the referees to just allow it because you think you deserve to win.

    There are three people that can change the outcome of any bout. Your opponent, the referee, and yourself. In my opinion Alen beat himself in that bout. He lost is temper and was given a card that he absolutely deserved.

  5. I’m not going to comment on a subjective decision by a referee, other than to say the referee should make the same call on the deciding touch as he would at 0-0.

    The issue, as I see it, regards an egregious conflict-of-interest on the bout committee. Certainly, no coach or administrator whose fencers could benefit from the decision should be involved.

    When I was Head Referee at the NCAAs, the bout committee/jury of appeal was comprised of the Head Referee and two other referees who weren’t involved in the bout. I’m not sure why this wasn’t the same at the NCAA Regionals. Hopefully, they mirror the NCAA going forward.

    • Mr. Bukantz, curious to hear your opinion since you’re a well-seasoned referee. On your strip, if a fencer says “Goddammit” to themselves, is that a card, or is “dammit” within the curing threshold you would tolerate? Thanks.

  6. Is fencing not the ‘sport of gentlemen’? Why are fencers even going that far as to verbally disrespect anyone during a competition? Especially at the collegiate level? Professional athletes look stupid when they argue with a referee – but at any level in any sport it shouldn’t be done. It isn’t in the spirit of competition to curse or swear, regardless of popular thought and action. Respect the sport. Respect your opponent. Stop with the selfish actions and I can guarantee that you would never get a card of any color.

  7. Again, I prefer not to criticize the ref in this incident, as I was not there.
    Personally, I prefer to speak to the fencer on the first offense. It is a combat sport, competed with extreme emotions, and a spontaneous reaction like that is borderline, at best.
    To answer your question directly, no, I would not card a fencer in either of your two examples, at least not for an isolated first time. It was not directed at the referee, Goddammit is not the same as a curse word, and it was in the heat of battle.
    That being said, the referee was well within rights to apply a penalty.

  8. As a witness to the whole event, and a fencing parent, I have to say that Alen’s oath was one of the slightest infraction’s for which I have ever seen a red card handed out. Alen’s remark was not particularly loud (relatively, in a noisy gym), nor aimed in any way at his opponent. Of course we live in a society where attitudes towards profanity vary widely – and one would guess are somewhat correlated with age. I was outraged by the injustice of the call, but it was obvious that there was nothing to be done and it was time for Alen to move on.

    Alen’s remark to the referee however was handing the referee a metaphorical blank check, as has been noted above, and it was no surprise that the referee responded in kind.

    The “trial” of the bout committee was the fascinating to watch, the first I have ever seen in 15 years of watching fencing. I was far enough away that I couldn’t hear anything being said so there is nothing to be added here, except no witnesses were interviewed and no representation was available for either party (probably a good thing). Altogether a sad affair, but a lesson was learned I’m sure.

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