Trabzonspor defender Salih Dursun is a man of principle. Entirely dissatisfied with the quality of refereeing on display in a match against Galatasaray, he decided to take action.
While the other Trabzonspor players resorted to the time-old and never successful method of referee decision protest—encircling and haranguing the ref in question about the decision—after a teammate of theirs had been shown a red, Dursun took a revolutionary tack. He snatched away the most iconic symbol of referee authority, the red card itself, asserted the power for himself, and proudly lifted the card over his head in the direction of the official while pointing to the sidelines:
“No, no, no: you are mistaken, sir. It is not my brother in boots who has behaved in a manner totally unbefitting of the pitch we are competing on, before the eyes of millions of our countrymen and the world beyond,” Dursun said to the ref with his elegant demonstration of resistance. “It is you who has offended the core sensibilities of this great and noble sport, and thus it is I who is empowered to send off you!”
As is the case in so many acts of rebellion against the powers that be, Dursun was dealt with swiftly and without mercy. For his audacity he too was shown a red card and made to leave the pitch, and he did so with admirable restraint.
While this attempt at insurrection, like the others we’ve seen before, fell flat, it does appear that the winds of change are stirring. There will come a time when the players take back their sport from the despots with their cards and whistles, and that time may well be sooner than you think.