How many times have we all said “You know, I could kill that bloody referee!”
Tragically, now, a Dutch linesman has actually died after being beaten by players in the aftermath of a youth match the day before.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen collapsed and was rushed to the hospital hours after players from Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten punched and kicked him.
Nieuwenhuizen’s club, Buitenboys, said the 41-year-old linesman died Monday evening but did not announce the exact cause of death.
Three players, whose ages range from 15 to 16, were arrested earlier Monday for alleged involvement in the beating in the town of Almere.
It remains unclear why the players beat Nieuwenhuizen, but they certainly weren’t justified. The police haven’t ruled out making more arrests as their investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, Nieuw Sloten have already announced that they banned the players arrested from the club and pulled their team out of the league.
Apart from this terrifying loss of control by the boys concerned, this story highlights something that we are always concerned about at Wellthisiswhatithink, namely, that as little as a single blow can kill someone. Tragic cases happen all the time, they are in the news regularly.
Typically, one teenage boy hits another, usually fuelled by alcohol, and the next thing we know one boy is dead and another is on trial for murder or manslaughter, their life ruined. Two families destroyed.
We see campaigns, constantly, persuading youth not to carry guns or knives. Well, we think we are long overdue a broad public education campaign reminding boys – whatever they see in popular media, and surely the casual violence of continual fist fights in Hollywood movies must have de-sensitised us to the use of punching – that fist fights kill, and a single blow can be all it takes.
Zero tolerance for violence. Nothing else is acceptable.
I found this site, One Punch Can Kill, from Queensland, which is a start. Well done them. But we need a wider campaign reaching youth around the world. The yield will be hundreds if not thousands of young lives saved, and a similar number saved from having their lives ruined by a moment of insanity. Surely social media – YouTube, Facebook, would be perfect to get the message out to the right audience. And it should be reinforced at the places that matter – clubs, pubs, public transport, on the streets.
You may also care to checkout the Matthew Stanley Foundation. Matthew was just 15 when he died attending a party in Queensland. 1,000 people attended his funeral.
The Matthew Stanley Foundation are responsible for the “Walk Away, Chill Out” campaign.
Walk Away, Chill Out.
If only we could get that simple message out there so EVERY young person hears it.
Ideas, comments, help, all welcome.