A player on Team A asks the ref repeatedly why a foul was called. He didn’t respond. The same player for Team A was substituted and asked the ref why a foul was called in passing, again the ref ignored his request. The player while exiting the field said “you’re an idiot” not directly to the ref. The ref said “what did you say”. Team A player continued off the field and one of the players from Team B said to the referee he said “You are a ‘Effing’ idiot”.

Player 2 from (the sub) from Team A went on to the field. Referee Red carded the player that said “you’re an idiot”. My question is does Team A have to play a man short?

USSF answer (October 19, 2010):
Because the referee waited until the substitute entered the field and became a player, the former player’s dismissal for using offensive, insulting or abusive language does not result in Team A having to play short. If the referee had acted before allowing the new player to enter, then Team A would have to play short.

The harder question is this: suppose the referee is 100% sure that the second player who provided the answer embellished on the first player’s remark. Should the referee ignore the embellishment (“Effing idiot” vs just “idiot”)? It is probably best to let it go but let the player know that you know.