New Study Reveals Three Out of Four Referees “Have Feelings”
Pictured modelling the new Spring line of officiating gear, NFL Referee Sven Gundersson is manfully unafraid to reveal his feminine side. New study calls for refs, players, coaches and fans to be more attuned to each other's needs.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (The Sportsman's Daily Wire Service) -- Last week, the Southeastern Conference reprimanded Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer for saying after a victory over Vanderbilt that the league needs to take a ''hard look'' at officiating. Had Coach Fulmer read a new study issued by the “National Association of Sports Officiating,” there’s little doubt that he would have changed “hard look” to something like “vacant gaze.” Or, to play it safe, “dewey-eyed, vaguely distracted, over-the-shoulder glance.”
According to the study, referees, no matter the sport, are highly sensitive to criticism, ranking ahead of artists, neurosurgeons, team owners and wives.
The NBA and NFL have recently implemented rules curbing what respective league officials deem “excessive player emotion,” ranging from taunting to snickering when a blank stare is more appropriate. It’s long been common practice to either reprimand or fine coaches who publicly criticize officials. According to several recent surveys, players – and coaches -- are on balance complying, but not enough to please those involved in authoring today’s report.
“I think the problem is structural – refs are only there to punish bad behavior, which only perpetuates the cycle of mistrust and anger,” said Edward Ellis Armstrong, a former prison warden who participated in the study. “This is exactly why we believe refs need to reward good behavior. You receive a gentle pat on the butt from a player, refs need to find ways of reciprocating beyond offering a gentle pat in return.”
The report recommended a new system for conveying affirmation to players and coaches who exhibit exemplary on-court etiquette. For instance, a raised thumb followed by a cocked eyebrow means “jolly good.” A clearing of the throat followed by a deep knee-bend means “bung-ho, old chap.” While an outstretched middle finger followed by a well-meaning chuckle means “good show, well done, meet me after the game at McGinty’s for a pint and a bit of a chat.”
(Correction: according to a spokesman, an outstretched middle finger followed by a well-meaning chuckle actually just means “fuck you.”)
The Detroit Pistons’ Rasheed Wallace thinks the proposed new system is just the ticket. “As players, it’s really all we ask: a thoughtful remark, a little encouragement, something that says we appreciate you. I for one think it’s a capital idea that will lead to a mutual outpouring of warmth and affection, promoting patience and understanding -- and really, isn’t that just the thing this time of year?”
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