By David Peel
I’m a big fan of college sports, especially NCAA football.
In NFL football, they have come out with a red flag that allows you to challenge a call on certain occasions. The right is very limited and only pertains to certain calls. Further, you can only use it at the risk of losing a timeout if you are not confirmed in your belief that the call should be overturned.
I think there should be a different color. It’s fine to have the red flag to challenge the refs on important game winning calls. But sometimes there’s just a call made or even a missed call that is so outrageous that it’s obvious, that a black flag should be used. And my proposed black flag rule means that the referees must attend a press conference, watch the video with the press, and then publicly explain their thinking as to why that was, or was not a call.
My mind goes back to a certain Arkansas versus Florida game where the Florida guy pretty well assaulted an Arkansas player and the Arkansas player just pushed him back but you had that push called as a personal foul against my Razorbacks. Later on that referee explained, after unfortunately experiencing death threats, that he just didn’t see the first provocation and he should’ve never called something without seeing it entirely. I couldn’t agree more. But I would like to have seen a black flag thrown which would cause them to review their decision in light of the fact that they’re going to have to answer for the decision. After all, the quarterbacks and coaches all have to have press conferences to answer for boneheaded plays or terrible play calls. How come referees are exempt from this? Judges in the legal system have to explain their decision if they expect them to be upheld. They have to state the actual reasoning for it and explain why they did what they did according to law.
But the refs are not bound by this. And I think transparency in the process makes a lot of sense. Let them come up and explain why that facemask that took a man to the ground was not a facemask. Or let him explain why someone pulling the jersey off someone is not a hold. Or let him explain how it’s pass interference when there was no contact between the players. Whatever it is, if they know with that black flag that they are subject to being publicly reviewed, I think they will be more precise on their call. If in doubt, a call should not be made.
Now as a part of my proposal, someone will want to know how many black flags someone can throw in a game. And I’m actually a little unsure of that. Sometimes the referee is so bad I could imagine it needs to be used a half a dozen times by one particular team. Other times the plays are called so clean I believe that there’s barely a questionable call in the whole game. I like it better when the referees are really not part of the game and don’t inject themselves into it. So I don’t know that I could limit it. I think it would have to be a pilot program. It could be rolled out first in smaller leagues possibly and perfected based on those referees which are probably not as accomplished as the ones that are supposedly calling the power conferences. And we could see how it works; I think those press conferences could be very inspiring to the referees. Like I say, judges have to answer for their decisions and explain them. All I’m suggesting is that the referees, who are the judges on the field, must personally come and explain their personal call, and the reasons for it with the big screen behind them showing the whole thing.
Let me know what you think about my proposal.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.