NP soccer assault comes to soft resolution


A really ugly situation unfolded in North Providence last week when a boys soccer player hit two Ponaganset players in a violent confrontation.

I was not at the game but saw the video online through the league’s streaming service. It was a chippy game and it all began when a Ponaganset player shoved one of the North Providence players. In retaliation, the NP player punched the kid in the throat, then as another Chieftain ran over to defend his teammate, he then hauled off and struck him in the face.

The Providence Journal reported that the player was suspended from the team for five games and the school for three days. He also received a social ban until the school’s Winter Ball. I disagree strongly with the leniency that the school showed for this assault.

That’s what it was. An assault.

In a decade of covering high school sports, I can say that that was the ugliest situation I have seen within my coverage area. Again, I was not there live, but it was close to home with teams I have covered in the past. You see viral videos online all the time and this will probably be one of the latest examples of kids flying off the handle.

Kids will be kids and teenage boys do not have the impulse control of fully developed adults. In a competitive, physical environment, things can get testy and it’s not uncommon for punches to be thrown. This was different, though. This was much more aggressive than a couple of punches. These punches were not intended to hurt, they were intended to injure.

This student should not be allowed to ever step foot on a high school athletics team again and should receive a very harsh punishment from the school itself. A three-day suspension is inadequate. Sure, it will be on his record, but kids get suspended for three days for much less.

Now, it is unclear if this student had a history of such behavior. When determining punishment, that has to be taken into account. As for the first part, I stand by that regardless of history. That type of behavior should warrant a permanent ban from athletics.

When it comes to his place in the school, that is when it is a little bit tricky. If this was an isolated incident, then perhaps a typical suspension is fine. If this is a pattern, then it just is not safe to keep a student with that type of aggression in the classroom. He and the Ponaganset players are lucky that no one got seriously hurt.

The suspensions have been handed out, so it is what it is at this point. I’m just dumbfounded that not only will this student be allowed to participate in athletics moving forward, but he will be back by the end of the regular season. It was not self defense and it was an act that was beyond reason. It was pure violence.

I like to think that I am not soft, either. I totally understand that tempers flare with testosterone-filled teenagers. You see aggression in every sport and I have seen plenty of fights break out over the years. This was not a fight. This was a kid totally losing his cool and assaulting two other players.

I will tip my cap to everyone that was involved in the game during the scuffle. The kids showed restraint in not engaging in an all-out brawl, the refs and coaches acted swiftly and kept the peace. The game resumed in a couple of minutes and never really escalated further. They two clubs peacefully finished the game, went through the postgame handshake line and went their separate ways.

My first instinct would have been to call the game off if I was a referee. So credit to them for having the control to resume the game and keep it clean. The professionalism was impressive and should be a reminder that these officials deserve respect because their jobs go far beyond just making the calls on the field.

Through the first three weeks of the regular season, we have seen Bishop Hendricken grad and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye have a huge start. His first two years in the league had some tough sledding as he battled injury and struggled to find a rhythm. In 2023, he seems to be blossoming into the game wrecker that the Colts hoped to draft when they selected him in the first round.

Paye already has 12 tackles and three sacks. Each week he has come up with a big play and the Colts have somehow managed to stay relevant in the AFC playoff picture. Health will be key for him moving forward, but we are finally seeing him develop into a star in this league.

Paye has always been somewhat overlooked. He came from a small state, then had some talent evaluators questioning his resume heading into the draft. His pure talent was never in question, but just about everything else was.

I have not heard anyone speak about his big start. He is flying under the radar and I am sure it is because his career got off to a slow start. I have a feeling that by season’s end, we will be referring to him as “Pro Bowler” Kwity Paye.

pitch, soccer, assault


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