Has abuse gone too far?

Written by on March 18, 2019

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 18, 2019, #735 Up Next… Has abuse gone too far?After further review… Regularly in the sports section of our local paper is the notice: “Officials needed.” Our local high school sports teams have difficulty scheduling games due to a lack of game officials. The National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) reports this is a national trend. They reason that men and women are reluctant to step into that profession because of the abuse from parents, fans, coaches, and players. Certainly, game officials have the authority to control the players on the field/court, but that too has its limits.


NASO reported that in a recent wrestling match the referee issued two unsportsmanlike fouls on a wrestler, which, by state wrestling rules, disqualified him from the next scheduled match. Unfortunately, that next match was the state tournament. The wrestler’s parents took legal action. The judge assigned to this case ruled in favor of the wrestler, thereby overriding the referee’s decision. Where is this going? Referees are held accountable for their actions by the assigning authority! It is the opinion here that any overruling must lie solely within that body!
My experience in officiating football and basketball at the high school and college level is much different. My first experience was basketball in summer leagues and industrial-type where my pay was .90 cents per game. Then I moved to the high school level where the pay for football and basketball was $12.50 per game. I was thankful to get it. Abuse? Sure, there was some from coaches and fans – none from players – but it was mild compared to today’s level.


Is today’s abuse a carry-over from the lack of discipline and civility in our society? Lawlessness is evident in today’s society. Has this carried-over into our sports environment? Who do we hold responsible for this trend? Is it a breakdown at the home level? Is it a general lack of respect of authority? Ask the teachers in your kids’ schools how the change in society’s behavior has hindered their teaching.


Professional athletes can or should set the standard for behavior. Is that fair to them? Some say if you’re gonna take the money, you have a responsibility to set proper behavior standards, since young athletes will follow what they do and say. Many of our professional athletes accept that challenge. Yet many do not! Can coaches help? Further, should coaches’ behavior on the sideline be held accountable for showing proper respect for authority?


Will you log-in your thoughts about abuse of game officiating?

To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.


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