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Video: Magic-Thunder Ref’s Behind-the-Back Pass Fail

NBA players apparently weren’t the only ones bored by the lockout — the refs were too. One of the officials for the Magic-Thunder game tried showing off his passing chops by going behind his back after a made basket. One problem — his moves weren’t as smooth as he had hoped.

Here’s the video:

Chest bump I am a GM

Navy Comeback Wiped Out by Unsportsmanlike Penalty, Was it Fair?

More often than football fans would like, exhuberance is often mistaken for unsportsmanlike behavior. Egregious celebrations aside, players should have a little wiggle room to be excited. The good news is that they usually get it. Unfortunately that was not the case for Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor. The great fourth quarter comeback by the Midshipmen was all for naught when Proctor was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty after scoring in overtime Saturday against Air Force.

The overtime touchdown was Navy’s first lead against Air Force. Football is a game of yards, and the 15 yards that came with the flag turned out to be very costly. After being pushed back on their extra-point attempt, Navy missed the kick and their lead stood at six points. Air Force subsequently scored and kicked the PAT to win the game. After coming back from 18 points and taking the lead, this was a rip-your-heart-out kind of penalty.

But should Proctor have been penalized?  On replay, Proctor emerged from the pile and slighty shoved a Falcon player (I say “slightly” because the man barely even registered the contact) as he made his way to the other side of the pile.  Then, he pushed another Falcon who was still standing over the pile, presumably to get him out of the way so his teammates could get up.   We’re talking about a man full of glee and adrenaline and testosterone.  Still, nothing Proctor did seemed that flagrant, especially if you consider the circumstances.

Back judge David Vaughan, who threw the flag, probably missed the Steelers/Ravens game because there were at least a half dozen altercations that looked much worse than Proctor’s penalty. The call was sort of like getting ticketed for speeding at 70 on the freeway.

Although the place-kicker should have made what was basically a chip shot FG, plays ought to be analyzed on their own, not what comes afterward. In this case, neither Vaughan, nor Proctor should be tongue-whipped. Instead, let’s ask ourselves why referees, especially the college variety, don’t start giving a little more space between bad sportsmanship and joy? It’s not like Proctor jumped up just to get into it with an Air Force defender.

Toledo Loses to Syracuse After Officials Blow Call on Extra Point (Video)

Syracuse beat Toledo 33-30 in overtime Saturday after getting some help from the officials on an extra point. Syracuse had scored a touchdown with 2:07 left in the game to make it 29-27. Their extra point attempt, pictured in the image above, and featured in videos below, went wide left. The officials didn’t realize that it missed and gave Syracuse the point to make it 30-27.

Toledo kicked a field goal at the end of regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime. They ended up losing 33-30. Had the correct call been made on the extra point, the Rockets’ field goal at the end of regulation would have made it 30-29.

Here is an animated look at the extra point with stills from Sports Grid:

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Notre Dame, Michigan, and Referees Wear Throwback Jerseys for Night Game

Michigan hosted a night game for the first time in its school’s football history Saturday when they took on Notre Dame. Both teams wore throwback jerseys to celebrate the occasion, but they weren’t the only ones wearing old school duds. The referees had their pants up and their stirrups high, not to mention mail boy-style caps. Peep the steeze:

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Here are a few more looks at the throwback uniforms being worn by all parties:

Fans don’t need throwback jerseys to get interested whenever Notre Dame and Michigan play, but the old school unis were a nice touch. Especially for the referees. That’s about the only way I’ll compliment them.

Plenty more pictures available at the Adidas Facebook page

Tim Donaghy Breaking Down NBA Finals Refereeing, or Plugging Gambling Sites?

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was busted in 2007 for betting on games he reffed and he ended up in prison. Since getting out, he’s written a book and he’s analyzed the refereeing in the playoffs. During the Eastern Conference Finals, Donaghy pointed out that the refs missed a blatant travel by LeBron James against the Bulls. It was something I pointed out on twitter, so I was glad someone else of prominence raised the same point. But then you see his next video, and you realize the guy is only doing infomercials for a betting site.

Before he points out preferential treatment he says LeBron received in Game 1, he makes sure to tell viewers to visit a gambling site. Then, the entire time the video plays, there’s a small text ad at the bottom reminding viewers to hit up the same site. Towards the end of the video, suggests analyst Jeff Van Gundy isn’t critical of LeBron’s non-calls because Van Gundy has money on the games.

Donaghy may have called out some of the unethical refereeing practices going on in the NBA, but there’s little doubt he’s taken things too far. He lacks integrity and honesty, and things he says should be taken with little credibility. Hopefully now that you know he’s only plugging a gambling site, you’ll ignore everything he has to say. He really isn’t worth your attention.

Referees Punished for Wearing Pink Whistles to Support Breast Cancer

Here’s a new guideline that sports leagues should learn to follow: rules are rules unless you’re wearing something to raise cancer awareness. Why a group of referees would be punished for wearing pink whistles to raise awareness for breast cancer is beyond me.  Unfortunately, it happened in Washington.

According to MyNorthwest.com, one hundred forty-three Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association high school football referees were disciplined this week for wearing pink whistles last October in an effort to support breast cancer awareness.  PNFOA President Jeff Mattson said the officials also donated their game checks that day, which wasn’t an issue for the Washington Officials Association.  The pink whistles, however, were.

The refs were told not to wear the whistles but insisted there was no written rule that dictated their whistles should be a specific color, so they wore them anyway.  Since the state warned the officials not to wear the whistles and they did it anyway, they have had most of their playoff games revoked for the next two years and their organization will be placed on three-year probation.  WOA Commissioner Todd Stordahl said that if the refs do anything to violate probation during that time their organization will be decertified and all 143 will be out of jobs. Yes, really.

You would swear the refs were representing some sort of inner-city gang with the way they are being treated.  What kind of world do we live in that a group of people can’t take advantage of the fact that they have multiple eyes on them for a few hours and try to raise cancer awareness?  Regardless of the specific rules an organization may have in place, the entire situation is embarrassing. What’s even more sad is that it’s not the first time we’ve had issues over breast cancer-related sports equipment.

Photo Credit: KIRO Radio/Jeff Pohjola
Story Credit: Deadspin

Referee Bill Spooner Sues AP Writer Jon Krawczynski for Makeup Call Tweet

Minnesota Timberwolves beat reporter Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press is being sued by referee Bill Spooner for tweeting something deemed defamatory. During the second quarter of a T-Wolves-Rockets game, Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis complained about a call. Krawczynski tweeted “Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he’d ‘get it back’ after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That’s NBA officiating folks.” Here’s that tweet:

The concept of makeup calls isn’t at all new, and it’s something most fans and broadcasters recognize is a part of the game. But writing about it publicly is another story, and Spooner says he never told Rambis he’d make up the call. Here’s the front page of the filing in court:

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