Stick a card on that mouth

It happens all too often in soccer. From the opening whistle, the ref puts up with smack talk. He fails to push back, and with each disputed call the rant grows. Before you know it, three or four players are ganging up and screaming in the ref’s face. Exhibit A unfolded at the 2018 World Cup match between Colombia and England, when ref Mark Geiger, who, after calling a penalty kick, let Colombian players berate him for five minutes. By then, fans were screaming even louder at their TVs. That kind of gap snaps the pulse of a good match. Show backbone early. When a player is over the top in protesting a call, book him, send fair warning to all others. Let the game go on.