Monday, February 20, 2012

Spraying to All Fields

The ACC race is sorting itself out, a little anyway. UNC, Duke and FSU remain at the top of the hill, and others are falling by the wayside. The biggest story in the league over the weekend turned out to be a referee tossing a pair of school legends.

Karl Hess ejected Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani, claiming the duo was inciting fans, as well as approaching the scorers table. Hess sent an e-mail on Monday, and here is how it reads:

"They were ejected for excessive demonstration on several calls as they came right up to the scorer's table. The policeman at the end of the FSU bench was warned that their continual excessive demonstration that incited the crowd would result in ejection."

Hess was reprimanded by the league for not following ACC protocol in handling such a situation. A response from Commissioner John Swofford followed suit:

"Karl Hess is one of the best on-court officials in college basketball, but the ACC has established a game management protocol, which allows the opportunity to potentially diffuse any situations before they reach the level of ejection. His reprimand is a result of a failure to follow that protocol."

Hess was reprimanded by the league the following day, but here's my question,and it's one I can ask having been a hockey referee. How can you hear two particular guys in an arena filled with screaming fans? Turn off the radar, Karl. Keep the rabbit ears down. You are a good official, and don't need to get involved with that kind of mess. In the end, Hess looks worse than the fans in question, because instead of letting his thick skin thwart the verbal jabs, he gave in, and responded.

I'm not saying Googs, and Corch were in the right. I don't know what they said, nor will I pretend to think I know. I do, however, know the officials have to be concerned with what is happening in the game, more than what is going on in the stands.

I have tried to stay away from Jeremy Lin, but I can't any longer. The kid is having a phenomenal run playing guard for the New York Knicks. Sadly, his on-court work is getting overshadowed by the unfortunate slurs of some members of the media. One poorly phrased headline cost someone their job, a radio personality using the same phrase was suspended for 30 days. Then you have folks comparing Lin to Tim Tebow.


Let Jeremy Lin play basketball. As fans, let's all enjoy just how much fun he is having playing, and obviously playing well. And most of all, let's treat Lin like he's any other player in the league. His nationality is a NON STORY. The story is the fact he has taken a Knicks team on a magical 8-2 run since he hit the floor. THAT is the story.

I must admit, I wanted to stay away from Lin, but the firing of the ESPN employee hit me close to home. When in college, I wrote a headline for my school paper that, to me, was nothing. It was later pointed out to me, by our advisor, that I could have gone a different way with it. I am intentionally NOT repeating it here, because I learned a valuable lesson about copy editing as a result of that. Of course, the circulation of the paper was small, and it was long before internet (yeah, I'm that old), but I have never forgotten that lesson.

I guess I am writing this to say I can understand, and believe the person who was fired simply made an honest mistake. I made it myself. I don't see color. I don't see race. I wasn't raised to be a hateful person. I see people. I see human beings. I see individuals who have beliefs that may be similar or different than my own.

In the end, we're all just people trying to do the best we can, at what we do.

Mike Solarte

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RE: Karl Hess...He has opened the door to further abuse. Anytime he hits the floor, he will be challenged by fans, especially the student section of any home team. This was a huge mistake by a seasoned referee.