Referees in Sports Need to be Held Accountable For Mistakes

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Referees in Sports Need to be Held Accountable For Mistakes


Referees in Sports Need to be Held Accountable For Mistakes


We have all seen it. A bad call by a referee that decides the outcome of a game. It’s not enough for a team to lose but to lose at the hands of something out of their control. It makes players, teams, and fans sick to their stomachs. Yes, sports can be overly dramatic at times but isn’t that part of the fun? But what isn’t fun is when players, coaches, etc., are fined for expressing their thoughts on a bad call but the referee in question isn’t held accountable.

This goes for all sports. Referees should be held accountable for their actions if they are deemed to have made a bad call within the field of play that directly impacted the outcome of a game.

A few examples of these so called “bad calls” came from this past weekend. The first being Saturday evening in the primetime matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. It was a heated, back and forth game that was ruined by the referees. On the last play of the game, forward LeBron James drove to the basketball and was clearly hit on the arm by forward Jayson Tatum. Yet, no call was made. The game would go to overtime and Los Angeles would go on to lose the game in overtime.

You can clearly see that contact was made with the arm of James and a referee was standing right next to the action. Almost immediately after the conclusion of the game, the refs said that they made a mistake. The next day, then NBA ref union released a statement, calling the mistake, “gut-wrenching”.

Yet, this admission of fault won’t change anything. Los Angeles won’t be given the win and everyone will go on about their day. After a few days, it will blow over and nobody will be talking about it anymore and that in itself is the issue.

The next day, referees took control of another game. This time it was the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs. Now, let me start by saying that the Chiefs deserved to win but it was an extremely poorly officiated game. Many fans and media members alike took to twitter to express frustrations about the game.

For example, towards the end of the game, there was a clear holding on the Chiefs offensive line but the refs held their whistle. It set up the penalty by the Bengals defense, giving the Chiefs 15 extra yards and ultimately the victory. If a call is made there, the game likely goes to overtime and then who knows what would have happened from there.

Now I’m not advocating for the outcome of any game to be changed but the people who call these games need to be held accountable. Often times, one play within the scope of a game isn’t what decides an outcome but it certainly can have an effect on the game.

This isn’t the first time that bad calls have changed the outcome of a game and it certainly won’t be the last time either. But going forward, there should be a set procedure on how to deal with issues like this that do arise.

Something needs to change in how sport leagues go about handling these situations when they arise. Especially when games are of a higher magnitude. Referees are human and will make mistakes, it’s just human nature. But accountability needs to be held for those mistakes. After all, all anyone wants is for a fair game. If we can hold players and coaches to a certain standard then the ones calling the game need to be held accountable as well.


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