Is Respect For Authority in Sports Disappearing?

Celtics all-star point guard, Rajon Rondo, was ejected in the fourth quarter of their first playoff game with the Atlanta Hawks for bumping a referee. Rondo strongly disagreed with one of the official’s calls and used physical confrontation to voice his opinion. In addition to being ejected from the game, Rondo was subsequently suspended from game two of the series. This event is the most recent in a long line of player/referee confrontations.

Throughout the history of sports, players have disagreed with referees, umpires, and other officials. However, it seems like these disagreements have become more and more common. Just last year 49ers DT Justin Smith was ejected for shoving a referee out of the way. Several months ago, star tennis player Serena Williams diminished the character of an official because of a bad call.

Part of the reason why players verbally attack referees so much is because they’re often allowed to. In baseball and soccer, it’s considered acceptable to get in a referee’s face if you disagree with a call, whether you’re a player or a coach. Fans find it entertaining to watch players argue with refs. It’s become part of the game.

Another reason, in my opinion why players argue with referees so much has to do with coaches. Coaches are supposed to be the leaders of the team. If a coach argues with the referee, why shouldn’t the player feel free to argue as well? If players grow up playing sports and most of their coaches argue with refs, wouldn’t that effect their treatment of coaches?I think many younger players have lost respect for referees. Here is a sad example of a player disagreeing with a referee.

While we’re far from perfect, our sports teams at SLA are taught the importance of respecting officials and their calls, good or bad. Our coaches reprimand us whenever we show disrespect to an official. Our school has been awarded multiple sportsmanship awards due to the attitude that our mentors have instilled in us.

When writing this article, I wondered what it was that made players argue with referees. I, being a member of the school’s basketball team, have certainly disagreed with referees before. I’ve also seen poor officiating affect the outcome of a game. However, I haven’t felt the need to put down the officials. I think the reason why players argue with refs is because of selfishness. It is one thing to calmly and respectfully discuss a call with a ref, but when a player makes an open attempt to berate and diminish a ref, the concern with winning has been overcome by the need to be heard.

When asked whether players  should be allowed to argue with refs, sophomore Elena Shand said, “To a certain extent. They should be able to state their opinion without necessarily arguing. The ref’s just trying to do their job and nobody’s always right.”

In addition, sophomore Isaac Valera said “No, I don’t think so. There needs to be authority. If not it’s chaotic.”

Frankly, it doesn’t seem like any major  sporting event can occur without some vocal confrontation that involves a referee.  It makes one wonder how we’ve gotten to this point in a “civilized society.” In order for future athletes to develop a respect for referees, I feel like coaches and other mentors need to think before they speak. If players see their mentors respecting authority, maybe they’ll develop a similar respect for authority.


About Brandon B.

I'm a proud Christian, above average sports fan and I'm currently in the process of growing up.

Posted on May 2, 2012, in Sports, Top Stories and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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