Radio Crew Suspended over Remarks About NCAA Referees
What in the name of Jay Walker is going on here? If you don't know Jay. He is the voice of the University of Louisiana's Ragin Cajuns, he is good at his job. And I am willing to bet he might disagree with me and my stance on this issue.
What's the Issue?
It has to do with an announcers responsibility to call a sporting event fairly and without bias. It can be hard to do. Especially if your announcer crew works very closely with one of the teams involved in the game. While I agree "cheering" from the press box would not enhance the listener experience of the broadcast, I do think the announcer crews have an obligation to "call it as they see it" without fear of retribution.
The First Amendment Doesn't Apply in the Broadcast Booth?
Believe it or not, there are apparently things you can't say or opinions you can't have if you happen to be calling a college football game. One of those things you can't do is offer an honest evaluation of how the officiating crew is handling the game on the field. Apparently, they are the chosen ones and are beyond reproach. Even though their inept ability may truly affect the outcome of a sporting event.
A Radio Broadcast Crew was Suspended Over Remarks about Referees
The crew in question is made up of play by play announcer Brian Jensen and analyst John Harris. They are the broadcast tandem that brings the play by play story of Texas Tech Red Raider football into homes across the vast wasteland that is known as the Texas panhandle.
During last Saturday's Texas Tech win over Iowa State, the two were very critical of how the Big 12 officiating crew was handling the game. They even mentioned individual referees by name. For their blatant honest about how bad this game was officiated the crew will now get this Saturday off when Texas Tech hosts Oklahoma State. The pair was also publically reprimanded by the Big 12 Conference.
Listen for yourself and tell me, did they "cross the line"?
I understand the need to maintain proper decorum in any organized activity. And I am 100% against violence against game officials in any aspect of sports. I also understand that if the officiating crew isn't given the respect they need then the game will fall into chaos.
But that's only on the field if you ask me. The Big 12 or any other college conference has no problem letting a broadcast crew go on and on about how poorly an 18-year-old student-athlete is performing. TV cameras will focus on the left tackle who jumped offsides and then show his family in the stands but God forbid someone says something about the old fat men wearing Foot Locker gear on the field.
The Outcome of a Contest Should not be Determined by Game Officials
It is my belief that more and more sporting events are decided by calls made or not made by the officials than there are games decided by the actual players. I didn't pay my money to watch the guys in the stripes play the game. I don't want them having a hand in the outcome. I do want them to enforce the rules but I don't want them "making the rules up" as they go.
Perhaps if the Big 12 or any other conference scrutinized their officials as much as they appear to scrutinize broadcasters, maybe the Big 12 could not embarrass itself in the College Football Playoffs every year.
Don't Even Get Me Started on the NFL
If you're a fan of the New Orleans Saints you can probably recite two, maybe even three, really bad calls made by officials that changed the outcome of your team's season can't you? In a couple of those cases, the league even said they got the call wrong and as punishment for the officiating crew, they got to come to work next week and screw it all up again.
I guess instant replay only works when you're Tom Brady.
So Brian and John Will Get the Weekend Off
As we mentioned Brian Jensen and John Harris will have to sit out the OSU game on Saturday. But they will do it with their heads held high. They were hired to report the "play by play story of the Texas Tech Iowa State football game". One of the chapters of that story was how the officiating determined the ebb and flow of the game and not the players themselves. Seems to me Brian and John did the job they were hired to do which is more than I can say for the Big 12 crew that worked that game.
All of College Football Needs to Know This One Thing
People do not come out on Saturdays or turn on their TVs to watch the officials. If we wanted to see inept behavior we can watch a city council meeting. Eventually, the hall pass for bad officiating will lead to a bad product on the field. That will lead to fewer eyeballs on TV and buttcheeks in the stands. And without that revenue, we won't have the money to overpay college football coaches for not doing their jobs.
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