One of the most discussed moments from this weekend’s Premier League coverage – at least among certain circles – came during the second half of Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
After assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis awarded Arsenal a throw-in, Man City striker Sergio Aguero argued the call to Massey-Ellis’s face. Then, as she began to walk away, he put his hand around her shoulder.
The gesture was quickly condemned by many, especially on social media.
Aguero was not penalized in the moment, or retroactively.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organizing body for officials, deemed that Aguero’s action didn’t break any rules. According to official guidelines, touching officials is not an offense unless it is done in an aggressive or threatening manner.
On Sunday, NBC Sports’ Rebecca Lowe shared her thoughts with Robbie Mustoe and Tim Howard during “The Lowe Down.”
“As a female watching that, I was very uncomfortable,” Lowe explained. “There’s a reason why thousands of women out there… and men… felt uncomfortable because that has happened to millions of women across the world… in every single situation and place.”
Lowe also shared her thoughts on the rules that are currently in place, noting, “Just because it wasn’t threatening or aggressive doesn’t mean it was right or comfortable for Sian Massey-Ellis. I don’t know Sian – she might have been fine with it, and that’s important. We don’t know that and we’ll probably never know that because referees can’t talk.”