Get on the horn and call Ron Paul, because someone needs to start a revolution.
I want everyone to watch this video:
Now think: what happened in that video?
*South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia took the snap and started running
*He rolled to the left
*Umpire Wilbur Hackett Jr. (SEC official) shuffles his feet toward Garcia
*Hackett throws his shoulder into Garcia, slowing the quarterback and allowing LSU defenders to finish the job
*Hackett looks down at the fallen quarterback making absolutely no attempt to apologize or play innocent
Raise your hand if you think the official was trying to get out of the way of the South Carolina QB.
Raise your hand if you think the official was raising his arm to protect himself.
Raise your hand if you think Hackett, the umpire, did absolutely nothing wrong in that play.
Really? No one thinks so?
My question, then, is this: If we intelligent sports fans can CLEARLY see that this was, at best, a suspicious play by the official... why can't anyone else?
Here, according to an article on ESPN.com, is the reaction from South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier:
"He was trying to get out of the way," Spurrier said of Hackett, according to The State in Columbia, S.C. "Stephen sort of cut back right into him. Sometimes that will happen."
Here is the reaction from the SEC office:
When contacted by ESPN's Joe Schad, the Southeastern Conference office said after reviewing the play, it believes the umpire was in appropriate position. A spokesman said the umpire raised his arm to defend himself after a change of direction by the runner.
Do those eggheads in their ivory tower really expect us to buy that crap? I don't buy it. Not for a second. And if I were coach Spurrier I would be out-of-my-head livid about that kind of action from the officials.
Not only was the official not in the "appropriate position," the dude flat out threw his shoulder into the SC quarterback!
But I guess Spurrier is a classier guy than I am. The 'Cocks did, after all, end up scoring on the drive.
Still, this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable. More and more, starting with NBA official Tim Donaghy and continuing with officials in every sport, referees and officials are becoming suspect in their calls and their professionalism. Officials should be impartial rule-enforcers, not emotional participants in the contest. Increasingly it's becoming apparent that human bias is creeping into officiating.
So how do we cure this illness? Well, if conferences, coaches and media continue to give officials like Hackett a free pass then there's no way to cure it. Officials will continue to carry on with business as usual because right now they are untouchable. Coaches, players and media members can't criticize officials because if they do they get reprimanded and fined (just ask Rocky Long). No one, absolutely no one, holds officials accountable (except us fans--which is why it's totally acceptable to boo officials at games).
I believe the NCAA needs to remove the sanctions against those who speak out against referees and officials. Coaches and players need to be able to bring poor officiating to public attention. Officials need to know that their poor performance will be recorded and reported. If the love of the game won't keep them on the straight and narrow, maybe public humiliation will.
Anyway, videos like the one above make me sick. It just reminds me of the current abysmal state of officiating in the sports I love.