Posted by: rotenochsen | December 27, 2007

The Perplexing Gag Rules in Sports

Sports At All Levels Deny Free Speech


Bobby Knight was reprimanded by the big 12 Conference for derogatory remarks he made about the officials after a game. What he said follows and does not seem to be deogatory, What he said was his opinion:
“I thought it was a horrendous call,” Knight said after the game.
Knight’s comment violated the Big 12’s sportsmanship code, which prohibits public comments about officiating, the conference said in a statement.
This is as good an illustration of the Gag rule that appears to exist in College and especially in professional football. A rule against anyone involved in the playing of games, from the players and coaches to the television announcers, not to make any negative comments about the officiating or any official in particular.
Bill Carollo, an NFL official for 29 years, who officiated two Super Bowls, had this to say about officials. “We make three or four mistakes a game. Most aren’t known to the public. Just like the players, everyone is human, and no one’s perfect. We’re graded on every single play of every single game. The players get better, and the coaching schemes get better. You’re scrutinized more because of the media. You can’t ever get too comfortable. We have one-year contracts. You make one bad call, you could be out.”
If that is true, then why are players and coaches fined and suspended from games for criticizing officials calls during crucial moments in the games?
During the Ravens and patriots game an official allegedly insulted a player repeatedly.Raven’s player, Rolle’s accused head linesman Phil McKinnely of repeatedly calling him “boy” at one point in the game. This provoked a semi-violent response from the player toward the referee
Ravens Cornerback McAlister had more critical words about the referees and singled out a late holding call on rookie safety Jaimaine Winborne.
“It’s hard to go out there and play the Patriots and the refs at the same time,” McAlister said. “They put the crown on top of them, they want them to win. They won.”
The NFL reacted severely, and four Ravens players were fined for violating league rules prohibiting the “abuse” of game officials. Speaking your mind is now equated as abuse!
Linebacker Bart Scott was fined $25,000 for verbally abusing game officials and throwing an officials flag into the stands during Monday night’s game against New England.
Cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister and wide receiver Derrick Mason were fined $15,000 each for publicly questioning the integrity of the officiating in the game.
“This is about the importance of sportsmanship and respecting the integrity of our game,” Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement. “We do not tolerate inappropriate conduct between teams and game officials. This includes reminding game officials that they are to conduct themselves at all times as professionals in their dealings with players, coaches, and other club personnel.”
Or is it more about preventing anything that would question the integrity of the biggest “Cash Cow” in professional sports? In a Country where free speech is being reduced daily by PC and diversity rules and decisions. You would think a violent sport like football could stand some criticism of all those involved in the game. Including the officials!

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