Something best described as "irregular" took place in the German Bundesliga this past weekend.
Werder Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt took a tumble as he crossed paths with an opposing defender inside the Nürnberg 18-yard box (above video). The referee, no more than 15 yards away and with a clear view of the play, took his time in passing judgment — was it or was it not a penalty?
The referee pointed to the spot, awarding Hunt and Bremen an almost certain third goal of the game.
That's when Hunt did something strange: he fessed up. He walked up to the referee, shook his head and exaplained, essentially, to him, "You've got that call wrong. I tripped myself and it shouldn't be a penalty. Please don't give it to us."
Obviously a referee isn't going to forsake that kind of honesty, so he obliged Hunt and overturned his original call, thus awarding a free kick to Nürnberg.
Now, not to rain on Hunt's good deed or anything here, but let's consider the circumstances: The game was in the 75th minute and Bremen were already two goals ahead, looking comfortably on their way to a 2-0 victory. This call wasn't exactly a pivotal moment that would decide the outcome of the game.
But let's say the game was 1-1 or 0-0 in the 75th minute when Hunt tripped over his own leg and the referee gave his side a freebie. Would you be okay — or livid — with a player from the team that you support approaching the ref and doing the same as Hunt?
Surely he should be praised for his honesty and courage to do the unpopular thing. But does that make it the "right" thing to do within the context of a sporting competition, where the objective is to win the game?