Thursday, December 11, 2014

See Rule #95: Never Lift Your Bike Over Your Head

My reference today is to the fantastic site Velominati - Keepers of the Cog. This site, among other things, has a set of "rules" that each cyclist must follow.

In a recent recertification for Massachusetts soccer referees, I made the analogy between this rule for cyclists and for referees.

In my analogy referees should never "lift their bike over their head" as a form of public celebration ... the results can be disastrous.

It is my opinion referees should not openly celebrate their decisions as (a) it is a form of hubris no one wants to see as fans are there for the players, not the referee, and (b) these celebrations can be misinterpreted, badly.

Right on cue we have an incident last Sunday between the Bills and Broncos, where line judge John Hussey and umpire Carl Paganelli "fist bumped" each other after a Denver touchdown (video here).

Well as you can imagine this came closer to breaking the internet than other recent events as fans went wild with conspiracy theories about how the officials were openly celebrating the Denver score. (My personal favorite comment was "ILLUMINATI CONFIRMED")

Mike Pereira has a good analysis explaining what had happened.

Even the NFL’s vice president of communications, Michael Signora, had to make a statement telling the Associated Press that the fist bump was “an acknowledgment of good mechanics between the two officials involved in making the call.”

So where does this leave us?

If you make a good decision, don't do a happy dance right there. After the match celebrate with your other referees and family taking pride that you made a good, tough call. To do otherwise invites speculation that no one needs.

It was a damn fine bit of officiating, no doubt about it. It was also (sadly) wasted on the vast majority who saw the reaction, not the action.

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