Should replacement referees fear for their safety?
Three weeks into the regular season and we’ve yet to hit a boiling point with replacement refs. But we’re close. Damn close actually. Roger Goodell’s Week 2 edict regarding conduct was largely ignored by players and coaches.
Take, for example, this physical confrontation between Bill Belichick and an official following last night’s game.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the only incident yesterday. Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins offensive coordinator, chased one official into the tunnel and said he had “No f***ing balls” and that he was “a f***ing pussy.”
Thankfully in both these instances, the refs removed themselves before it got worse. But what about next time? What’s gonna happen when somebody goes off on a ref who isn’t as calm? A ref who has a bad temper. Is it beyond the realm of possibility to envision a ref-player, ref-coach skirmish?
These guys are human and like the rest of us, have tipping points. You can only get called a scab and a pussy so many times before you react violently. It’s human nature. Professional refs in other leagues aren’t immune to it, but then again they also have better protection from their unions.
Which brings us back to Roger Goodell and his decision regarding the Bill Belichick physical confrontation. Should Goodell give him a slap on the wrist, a punishment that does not befit the crime, well then, every single replacement ref should reconsider how important this job is to them.
Because in the end, these coaches and players are about winning. Their job security is about winning. Their financial stability is about winning. And when a ref blows a call that ultimately determines the outcome of the game, somebody’s going to be stupid enough to cross the line.