Sunday, October 09, 2005

The gag rule

Mike Carey's comments after the controversial Baltimore/Detroit game were very helpful. He gave his reasons for some of the calls he and his crew made in the heat of battle: an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a player giving an obscene gesture to the crowd, the ejection of a player for bumping him, etc.

Why aren't officials at the highest level allowed to talk more often?

I feel like it helps the game, simply because the officials frequently have it right or are enforcing a misunderstood (or even unknown) rule. Even when the officials get it wrong, it might help an official to say "I got this one wrong. I was screened, I feel bad, and it won't happen again."

Further, I'd like to see networks hire recently-retired officials to serve as special color commentators to explain the game from the officials' point of view, and to provide a human face for officials.

Don't get me wrong--I think this only should be done at the pro and big-college levels. I think the gag rule at the high school level, where I work, is a good idea. I have a big mouth and might well say something that could be misinterpreted into a microphone. Plus, I honestly don't want crazy parents to know my name.

But at the top level, I think officials talking about officiating is good for everybody. Give them a mike and put them on TV.


At 4:36 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

This is gonna sound like a dig, but it's not. Just an observation:

Refs share one characteristic with Doctors and Lawyers and Politicians: fear of admitting error. It's that fear that holds the gag rule firmly in place.

As a fan, I'd like the refs to talk more because I want to understand how and why they make the calls. But if they're gonna keep the gag rule in place, then we fans are going to loudly insist on perfection. On every call. Every game. Seems kinda unfair, doesn't it.

So lift that gag!

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Blogging Ref said...

Not sure I agree, Spoon. There might be a factor of "fear of admitting error," but it's more like a fear of saying something that will enflame difficult situations. It's more like the leagues with gag rules are lawyers telling refs to ALWAYS plead the fifth.

I think Doug Eddings' and his crew's performance at last night's press conference dispels any fears of a screwup.


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