Lambert: 'I can't believe I did that'

Updated: November 18, 2009, 4:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Elizabeth Lambert, the New Mexico women's soccer player whose rough play in a Mountain West Conference tournament game earned her an indefinite suspension and national notoriety, says she will "always regret" what she did, The New York Times reported.

Video footage of the game showed Lambert, a junior, committing a series of excessively rough plays, including yanking BYU forward Kassidy Shumway to the ground by her ponytail.

The video clip made her an Internet sensation and opened her up to scathing criticism.

"I still deeply regret it and will always regret it and will carry it through the rest of my life not to retaliate," Lambert said, according to The Times. Lambert said when she sees the video of her hauling Shumway to the ground by her hair, she still does not recognize herself, according to the report.

"I look at it and I'm like, 'That is not me,' " Lambert said, the newspaper reported. "I have so much regret. I can't believe I did that."

Lambert says she has been shaken by the reaction she's gotten in e-mails and phone messages and in blogs, including the publishing of her parents' home phone number and one suggestion that "I should be taken to a state prison, raped and left for dead in a ditch," according to the report.

"I'll be angry with myself that I did this, to my team, my university, that I did this to women's soccer, a sport that many females have worked very hard to get respect for," Lambert said of her conflicting emotions, The Times reported. "And I'll be sad that people want to see me suffer."

Lambert says some of her actions on the video have been blown out of proportion because they occurred in a women's game, or taken out of the context of the give-and-take of what was a physical contest. In one sequence in the video, she is elbowed by a BYU player before responding with a forearm to her opponent's back.

"I think the way the video came out, it did make me look like a monster. That's not the type of player I am," Lambert said, according to The Times. "I'm not just out there trying to hurt players. That's taking away from the beauty of the game. And I would never want to do that."

Lambert says she is seeing a psychologist to better understand what caused the hair-pulling incident. She also plans to speak to youth soccer players about acceptable behavior. Both are among steps she is taking to seek reinstatement to New Mexico's team in the spring, according to the report.

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