09 November 2009
I'd like to take a few pot-shots at the lazy, unprincipled media by way of a follow-up on nxojkt's excellent post on the phantom interception replay in the LSU game.
What was so excellent about nxojkt's post? Simply that he adhered to the journalistic ethic by gathering a clue of what he was talking about before throwing his ideas out to the wind. Apparently he's the only one.
A brief perusal of articles on the game show that the faux controversy has gotten nearly as much press as actual events on the field, even in a game where Bama handled a team that has as much talent as anybody in the nation and is clearly playing its best ball of the season. But remember, it would take actual work to analyze and discuss the football game. Ignorantly parroting somebody else's rabble-rousing squawks is much easier, and besides, the rubes eat it up like popcorn.
Among the worst conspiracy theorists:
Since Miles won't say anything, I will. This is beyond bad officiating. It's so undeniably awful, I'm beginning to believe conspiracy nuts who claim the SEC is protecting its heavyweight teams (Florida and Alabama) since, you know, every poor call in the last month has involved, uh, Florida and Alabama.
This time it was a non-call of an interception by LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, a pick that would've given the Tigers the ball at their 37 with 5:54 to play and trailing by six. Instead, Alabama eventually kicked a field goal on the drive, went up by nine and iced the game.
"I was definitely in," Peterson said. "I showed (officials) the mark on the field."
Television replays clearly showed Peterson got not one, but both feet in bounds. I'm not exactly sure, but when CBS showed the replay booth, I could've sworn I saw the Three Wise Monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
Here's cnnsi.com's Andy Staples:
That's the problem with all the SEC officiating hijinks this season: Now we don't know. Now we can't be sure the best team won, because we know both teams didn't get a fair shot. Saturday's disputed call was as unfair to Alabama as it was to LSU, because a tiny seed of doubt has now planted itself in the minds of all but the most fervent Alabama supporters.
Had the call gone the other way, it would have been just as unfair, but it wouldn't have given the tinfoil-hat crowd the ammunition this one did. The SEC is under even more scrutiny this season because of its 15-year contracts with CBS and ESPN that will pay the league $3 billion. Fans of other conferences are convinced the SEC will do anything to keep teams undefeated so one SEC team will play in the BCS title game. That isn't true. The officials work hard and do their level-best to make the correct calls. Unfortunately for the SEC, every major disputed call this season has gone in favor of an undefeated team.
OK Matt. OK Andy. Write what you want. My suggestion is that you might be better-advised to spend a little more time perusing the rule book and maybe a little less time looking for Bush and Bin Laden plotting 9/11 in a black helicopter behind the grassy knoll. But that's just me.
By the way, have either of you gents ever known a referee? Any referee, any sport, any level? If you have, do you really think a group of these stubborn, haughty, rules-sticklers is going to conspire on anything? Full disclosure: I've donned a striped shirt a time or two in my day, and I have known some referees. And yes, I know something about human nature, and it's certainly possible that a single referee might privately act out for or against a team of his choosing. But the conspiracy crap is just that: crap.
In addition to being total naive bullfeathers, it's monumentally irresponsible for these highly-paid guys with their national audiences to be passing out torches and pitchforks to the witch-burners when they don't know what in the wide wide world of sports they're yakking about. As I wrote recently:
"Referees are in a difficult position to start with, working in front of tens of thousands of partisan fans, many of whom have had some liquid refreshments, sometimes by the barrelful. Coaches should behave like adults, with concern for those men's safety, and do NOTHING WHATSOVER to encourage fans to take it out on the refs."
It's true that I said coaches, and not rich morons with million-watt megaphones, but the same principle applies. It's a public safety issue, dudes. This is a free county, so you have the right to call on the yokels to burn the witch if that's what you think your job is, but have a care for the refs at least to the extent of getting it right. It's not just their reputations on the line.
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