Russian fans protest ref Brad Meier at U.S. Embassy, want to make soap of him

Ref Protest in Russia - Igor Eronko

SOCHI, Russia – The disallowed goal by Fedor Tyutin in Russia’s 3-2 shootout loss to the U.S. on Saturday continues to anger Russian fans, who believe the “net off the mooring” call late in the third period potentially cost them an Olympic tournament win.

So much that they’ve taken the protest to the U.S. Embassy.

The target of their ire is referee Brad Meier, an NHL official who was on the phone with the video review “war room” that ruled the goal shouldn’t count because USA goalie Jonathan Quick knocked the net off its peg.

[Related: USA fans watch T.J. Oshie shootout win in Sochi arena, live to tell the tale]

Whether or not it was intentional on Quick’s part is a point of contention, as are the IIHF rules that differ from those in the NHL. The IIHF labels the net as “dislodged” if any part of it has been moved from its original position; under NHL rules, the goal would have counted.

Russian fans first responded with snarky Internet memes about Meier, including one in which he was portrayed as a puppet for President Obama.

On Monday, they upped the ante. A large banner appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that pictured Meier and the disallowed goal. We asked Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov to translate the message.

“Ref to [make] soap,” he said. Indeed. Fans at the protest were actually shredding soap on site.

“A very common expression of displeasure with refs," said Chesnokov. "Meaning send the ref to use his fat to make soap.”

Uh ... what?

As in he should be killed?

“There’s another version of where the phrase came from: The soap used on a noose for hanging. So it would still mean kill him.”


“Yes, killed, but it’s not literal,” said Chesnokov. “Please don’t take it as a death threat."

So if it’s not a death threat, is it a sign that says he’s worthless?

“Yes, worthless. Kind of like, ‘Hey ref, get glasses.’


So, in summary, Russian fans protested referee Brad Meier with a banner at the U.S. Embassy that either referenced the soap used to lubricate a noose or actually rendering his fat to make soap, but in actuality the phrase is their equivalent of “HEY REF, ARE YA BLIND OR SOMETHING?”

Ah, life’s little cultural differences. Such is Sochi.

s/t Igor Eronko

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