Monday, June 24, 2013

Assistant Referees, and the Ochocinco Effect

So many have certainly heard of Chad Ochocinco (Johnson) and his athletic exploits inside the field, and his silly, and criminal behavior outside the field.

Recently, he was in court answering for a domestic abuse incident. My comments here do not deal with the incident itself, but idea of decorum toward an official.

Take a look below as the incident that cost Chad several days in jail, and a probation extension.

Important in this is the fact that when in court representing a client, lawyers are officers of the court, and are honor bound to both advocate for their client, and the rules set by the court. A very high degree of professionalism and decorum is required. In large part, they are assistants of The Judge to arrive at the conclusion they do.

After the above incident, it was clear Chad breeched that decorum, but note it was not with the judge per se, or even the court, as it would seem clear that he was showing genuine affection. Think about this, instead of a pat on the bum, how about the back, a hug? That would have been ok, no?

What this (can be interpreted) to come down to was a player showing up a referee through one of their assistants.

Just like inside the field, a referee has to jealously guard their AR's before, during, and after a match, or the entire team can look foolish if one individual is treated disrespectfully, and no action is taken.

If you find your AR being demeaned, dissented to, or just shown up, a referee has to act, just as this judge did, to maintain respect for the process, and in our case The Game. This is true, even of the AR is wrong. Yep ... you heard it here. It is about maintaining integrity of The Game. Certainly correct the mistake if at all possible, but if the opportunity is gone to do so, move on to the next decision. It is more important to maintain the ability to make these decision unabated to allow the next one to be made, then have that ability eroded by bad behavior.

If the credibility of the officiating team is compromised through these actions, no decisions, good or bad will be accepted, and the day will be lost.

Note that 4th officials fall into a slightly different category to me. They are often the great pacifiers of a match and take tons of dissent so the rest of the team does not have to. That does not mean that they should be a sponge for abuse, but the threshold is much higher there.

My general instructions to my 4th Officials (outside of the technical stuff) was, We'll take care of all the stuff inside the lines, we need you to take care of everything outside the lines

This was generally followed by my guidance for dissent which was, Certainly don't get abused, but if you call me over, I will send someone off, so know facts before you do.

So while certainly a part of the team, they may be seen more as a bailiff. Critically important, but also not as subject to the rigor of folks on the bench and bar.

As an example of a good 4th, take a look at "Bull" from Night Court. Doing a critical job, with a great sense of humor.

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