Doing the right thing – the pilot and the referee

Lubos Michel.jpg

An Unusual Attitude salute for an unnamed (I think) United Airlines captain, and international soccer referee Lubos Michel who both made difficult calls in public over the weekend.


The pilot ruled himself unfit to fly following some kind of stand-up row related to the ongoing United industrial relations issues just before he was due to take-off.

The referee, and it helps if you follow soccer to understand the magnitude of this, gave a red card to Russian defender Denis Kolodin in the quarter final of the ongoing Euro 2008 championships. The player was on his way off the pitch when the referee’s assistant advised him, reportedly, that the ball had in fact been just out of play when the offence was committed. Watched by a TV audience of zillions the referee reversed his own decision and called the player back on.

If you’re not a fan, let me tell you that’s a pretty astounding thing to happen in a soccer match and took real guts. (For the record, the match then went to extra-time, and Russia won 3-1.)

What about the pilot? Well you can argue whether he should have let things get to him they way they did. But that’s irrelevant I think. He felt how he felt, and the only thing to do in the circumstances was to stay out of the cockpit.

Over at Pprune he’s getting mixed reviews, though sympathetic on balance. A lot of Brits will see shades of Papa India. And one pilot claims this happened to him.

Of course, the United story has so far only been told by the newspapers, and the accounts sounds a little sketchy. I’m open to reviewing my opinion if more info comes to light.

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One Response to Doing the right thing – the pilot and the referee

  1. mutuelle September 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    I am not really a soccer fan but I agree with you that’s a pretty astounding thing to happen in a soccer match and took real guts.Thanks for sharing.

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