College women’s lacrosse was the backdrop for one of the ugliest scenes in the year so far when, on February 21, Oregon defender Jackie Moccia was caught on video hitting an opponent in the head with her stick three separate times in one match. It’s disturbing and dangerous, and wasn’t caught by the referees.
Moccia’s target was Detroit Mercy player Lexie Kinmond, and she spoke to Deadspin about the incident:
The refs missed all of these cheap shots as they happened off ball, but early in the game she was issued a yellow card for another hard foul. Her behavior escalated throughout the game. Oregon athletic department, the Mountain Pacific Sports Conference, and the Officiating assignor have all had access to the video footage afterwards as we wanted to bring them in the loop of what had happened, and we were seeking discipline action to be taken. At no point did anyone involve ask me about the well being of my student athlete. When she got off with a 1 game suspension for what was 3 separate ejectable offenses we decided it would be best to share the video on social media to bring to light the importance of safe play, and to try to preserve the integrity of the game that we love.
Women’s lacrosse players wear faceguards rather than full helmets, so any use of the stick could cause serious harm to the skull and brain. To intentionally hit someone in the head with what amounts to a weapon could be considered a criminal offense, so a one-game suspension is laughably lenient. Hopefully the increased attention on Moccia’s actions precipitates some harsher discipline.