Sports

Referee Scandal: Honest Mistakes or Honestly Deceptive?

We’re all aware about the news surrounding NBA referee Tim Donaghy who pleaded guilty to federal charges against betting on games where he officiated.

It’s unfortunate that we have this kind of corruption among someone with such an influence on the outcome of a game.

“Foul!? I wasn’t even on the court!”

This also raises the question against every referee not only in the NBA, but also college basketball and other sports on a professional and college level.

I don’t think I’m alone when I think that Donaghy isn’t the only one that’s guilty of this. He’s just the first one to get caught. I think we’ll see more and more scandals uncovered in the years to come. Sometimes when we’re watching a game with a particular passion, our view is one-sided when we say that a ref made a bad call. Other times we’re justified. They’re just human and they can make honest mistakes, but how can we be so sure about their integrity?

“Player smiled after catch; unsportsman-like conduct, 15 yards…”

In the NFL, the 2007 season brought upon some new rules regarding unsportsman-like conduct. This really leaves a lot of room for bad calls. We saw some players get cited for unsportsmanlike conduct for giving the game ball to a fan while others (Terrell Owens) ate popcorn from the fans in the stands and didn’t receive a penalty. This could just be the difference in officiating, but could games be rigged in this way? Sure they can, but are they?

MLB is considering bringing in instant replay for questionable foul line calls. Some bad calls are clearly human error – others, we aren’t too sure. In football, they have instant replay, but even when the experienced announcers say that there’s no doubt on a call after reviewing the instant replay, sometimes refs make the opposite call.

Are they dishonest or just blind?

“Aw c’mon man, I only got like 50 bucks on me.”

This will end up being a touchy subject for many years and it’s not one that should be taken lightly. An official cheating is a serious accusation as it could very easily be a bad judgment call. Therefore, officials may have people prying into their personal lives if they’re under suspicion to see what their activities are outside of being on the court or on the field.

All in all, the suspicion now is that sports are very political and crooked and I think that we will always have a problem in this area. Hopefully, for the sake of our sports that we love so dearly, a lot of the corruption with reference to our sports officials will be cleaned out of the locker before its too late.


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