In the 3-4 playoff game between USA and Japan this morning at the World Curling Championship, controversy again reared its ugly head. Because after all the stuff involving brushes and sweeping techniques we've had this year, I guess we haven't had enough.
Watch the video below from the 1:40 mark. In the eighth end, Japan tries a double takeout. One of the USA rocks (yellow) jams on a Japan rock (red) and looks like it may be slowly going out. But the red rock hits the side boards and bounces back, changing the velocity of the yellow rock, where it hung in the house... barely. Japan argued that the rock was going out, and USA argued that the rock actually picked up speed after being hit, so while the direction was worse, it may have stopped sooner.
In the end, because it was the responsibility of Japan to stop the rock that bounced from interfering with the rocks in play, it was entirely up to USA to decide where the rocks should go. However, the spirit of the game dictates that if it was going out, the American should remove their rock from the house. They didn't, arguing that it would have stopped in time if it wasn't hit. Japan was upset, the crowd booed them, and Twitter blew up.
When I saw it initially, I too thought the Americans should have placed it out of the house. But after watching the replay again and again, there's a solid argument to be made that while the angle is worse, there's less momentum and the rock might have stopped.
In the end, it's impossible to tell what would have happened, so I think the non offending team is well within their rights (both by the rules and by the spirit of the rules) to leave the rock in. So, while it's very unfortunate that this situation even came up, I don't have a problem with the call that was made.
Of course, the USA went on to lose the semi-final later in the day against Denmark, so they'll have to play Japan again tomorrow for the bronze medal. So, after all that controversy, we get a rematch.