A referee in a Japanese high school basketball game forgave the exchange student who punched him in the face that required 10 stitches in what is always considered a showcase of poor sportsmanship.
The attack happened during a semifinal basketball match between Miyazaki Prefecture’s Nobeoka Gakuen High School and Fukuoka Prefecture’s Ohori High School on Sunday for the all-Kyushu tournament held in Nobeoka City, Japan.
— 慎太郎 (@N8tKOGds6ysVtcH) June 17, 2018
Nobeoka Gakuen was behind by 11 points with Ohori High School taking the lead in the score of 77 to 66 during the match with only 40 seconds left to play, according to Nishi Nippon Shimbun as translated by SoraNews24.
The 15-year-old exchange student playing for Noboeka, who came off the bench and had already been called out for two fouls earlier in the game, gets a third call with only 40 seconds left in the clock. Instead of accepting it, the student, whose name was not revealed in the report, decided to vent his frustration on the referee who called him out.
After the whistle, the referee decided to stop the game, which prompted the student to stalk the man, who is believed to be in his 20s, and punch him in the face. He was hit so hard that he fell to the ground and his head bounced on the floor.
The player was immediately ejected from the court, and soon later, Nobeoka Gakuen withdrew from the game.
As for the victim of the attack, the punch tore the skin around his mouth that urgently required 10 stitches. Police told the referee that he could charge criminal assault as it is possible considering the severity and viciousness of the attack.
Instead, he let the student off the hook after he apologized when they were at the police station.
“The boy still has a long life ahead of him, and I don’t want him to come to hate the game of basketball,” he said.
The exchange student’s action during that match had certainly caused massive problem not just for himself, but for his school and his team as well. For one, Nobeoka Gakuen has officially been eliminated from the all-Kyushu tournament after their loss on Sunday. Second, their shot to join and compete at the all-Japan high school basketball tournament may also be at risk as the team’s eligibility to participate is now being reconsidered by organizers due to the punching incident.
Featured image via Twitter / 慎太郎