I've been contacted by more than a few people already to get my take on the UNM soccer scandal involving UNM soccer player Elizabeth Lambert. For those of you who don't know, Ms. Lambert was thrown off of the soccer team for vicious attacks on a BYU soccer player in a recent soccer match. She was filmed kicking a ball into a BYU player's face, elbowing a player in the back, and grabbing a player by the hair and throwing her on the ground.
Obviously her actions were vicious, but were they criminal acts? Generally speaking, when one signs up to play sports, he/she consents to being the target of some rough housing inherently involved in the sport they play. A soccer player should expect to get elbowed, kicked, and even pushed. However, when a player purposefully engages in activities squarely aimed at inflicting injury, that's a crime actionable by law.
The problem is that the snippets of video we all saw of Ms. Lambert's actions do not show what we all are wondering: what did the BYU player(s) do to drive her to that point? Were her actions in reaction to being the target of some sort of excessive force? The one-sided snippets of video just don't tell the whole story.
I represented a gentleman charged with battery one time where a hotel guest looked out the peek hole from her room and saw my client push a girl in her face. The guest's account to the police was enough to get the guy charged with battery. Unfortunately, the guest didn't see that the girl had been hitting, scratching, pushing, and screaming at my client all the way down the hall. It was clearly a case of self-defense that could only be identified by a complete understanding of what happened that evening as opposed to one small snippet of time.
Hopefully, the university will research the occurrences from the entire game to more fully understand what occurred. It could be that Ms. Lambert's actions were as completely uncalled for as the news reports made them seem. It could also be that she was defending herself in a very rough, physical conference soccer game against a bunch of tall blonde thugs.