Police Arrest Soccer Player After Referee Bitten on Face

28-year-old player charged with felony assault, making threats

Originally Posted June 20, 2008

Police said a 28-year-old soccer player who got ejected from a game then bit the ref in the face, leaving an ugly wound.

Authorities have since made an arrest in the alleged assault that happened Thursday night during a soccer game in Newark. Del., when the ref carded a player for unsportsmanlike behavior.

It was a lack of sportsmanship two soccer players said they never imagined they would see.

"You just don't bite somebody like that," said Dave Dease, a witness to the incident.

"I've seen somebody, you know, push a ref before, but I've never seen somebody actually bite somebody," said Rob Traynor, another witness.

The victim told police he was officiating a soccer game between two teams named Fulhundred and Pizza by Elizabeth when the incident occurred.

Dease and Traynor, who play in the New Castle County league every year, said they have faced off against Thursday night's opponents before.

"They didn't like the call, so they were arguing with the ref the whole time," Dease said.

A player wearing jersey No. 5 disagreed with the official's decision to eject him from the game, so he "immediately approached him with his fists clenched," according to a police release.

New Castle County police said Rannord A. Jones, of Freedom Trail in New Castle, fiercely argued with the referee and then allegedly attacked him, biting through his chin.

"The player was so enraged that he just savagely attacked the official, biting him almost in an animal manner about the chin," Cpl. Trinidad Navarro said.

Traynor described what he saw: "The ref went down. He grabbed his chin and went down on one knee like he was hurt, and I thought he was almost like faking it. And then I looked, and there was blood pouring out."

"It's very bizarre," Dease said. "I've seen a lot of things in my day, but I've never seen someone get bit in the face."

Jones said nothing as he turned himself in to police Friday morning. He is charged with felony assault and threatening to kill the referee.

Jones' mother, Patsy Walter, said she would defend her son.

"If he's wrong, I'm going to tell him straight up he's wrong," she said.

There was no word on the official's condition Friday night.

For Dease and Traynor, who play on their college team, they said they are disgusted when a game turns violent.

"It just shows really, you know, bad sportsmanship," Traynor said.

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