In a heart-wrenching incident in Argentina, an amateur soccer player launched a violent attack on a referee during a match, with the video of the assault going viral. The shocking aftermath saw the soccer player taking his own life a few days later.
The entire violent incident was captured on camera, rapidly spreading across various media platforms and prompting local news channels to extensively cover the story. The attacked referee, Ariel Paniagua, who had been hospitalized after the assault, became the center of media attention and gave interviews recounting the terrifying ordeal.
Paniagua told media outlets that while a referee may make mistakes, violence should never be the reaction, adding that his attacker could have killed him.
Do referees face violence from athletes?
Paniagua went on to share the disturbing reality faced by referees in amateur soccer tournaments.
He explained that the attacker didn't seem to grasp that they could have killed him, refusing to apologize afterward. These incidents, he said, frequently happen to referees, leading them to sometimes need to hide in the locker rooms for extended periods of time.
The incident quickly caught the attention of law enforcement, leading to an official investigation with plans to arrest the 24-year-old assailant, Williams Alexander Tapón, scheduled for the following Tuesday. As the news circulated on social media, tens of thousands of people already knew his identity and home address.
The police had prepared the necessary paperwork to charge Tapón. The case garnered increasing media attention, and the police cooperated with the press, sharing details about the impending arrest and the expected course of action against the attacker.
Tapón was later located by a television station, where he offered his explanation with a remorseful demeanor. He said that one of his teammates was hit by an opposing player, and the referee turned a blind eye. As the team captain, Tapón confronted the referee, accusing him of having seen it since he was standing just two meters away.
After this, Tapón said Paniagua kept making rulings against them and ignoring any of the opposing team's violations, prompting him to attack the referee. He stressed that he apologized profusely and repeatedly to Paniagua afterward.
However, Tapón's explanation didn't matter much when people saw the video of him violently attacking the referee. As rumors spread on social media, he realized that the police were coming to arrest him. Sadly, at 11:40 p.m. in Argentina, Argentinian media outlets reported that they found Tapón's lifeless body near the train tracks after he ended his own life.