While recent news from Brazil has focused on the protests, with even the Confederations Cup receiving cursory coverage, a disturbing story reveals that soccer continues to arouse the passions of at least some Brazilians.
According to a story on Huffington Post, a soccer referee got into a fight with a player whom he had kicked out of the game. During the fight, the referee stabbed and killed the player.
The players' friends retaliated by attacking the referee, stoning him to death, and then quartered his body and impaled his decapitated head on a spike. A story in the Washington Post provides a few additional details.
The atrocity took place on June 30 in the state of Maranhão. It's important to put such events in context. Soccer hooliganism, often violent, occurs pretty much anywhere that the sport is played, and it's unfair to hold an entire nation responsible for criminal behavior by a handful of its citizens.
Nevertheless, this is not the sort of publicity that Brazil wants as it prepares for the World Cup, especially coming on the heels of protests which involved picketing, violence, and at least one death outside soccer stadiums during the Confederations Cup.