Go to any sporting event and you’re bound to notice a few things. The same plastic cup of Budweiser that you get for free at a standard keg party somehow costs six dollars at the stadium. Bathroom lines are incredibly long at halftime. You will not win the fan of the day unless you’re a baby, a senior citizen, or a dancing, half-naked fat man. And not one game will go by without an insult directed toward the “zebra,” the “stripes,” the referee.

From the relatively harmless “get some glasses, ref,” to the standard “you suck ref,” to the more controversial “the ref beats his wife,” referee insults are as much a part of the game as halftime shows and the national anthem. No matter how much or little you know about sports, there is nothing easier than chewing out the referee. The ref cannot attack you for an insult, especially since he or she probably won’t even hear it. You might get a few chuckles from surrounding fans if your insult is clever enough, and it’s the easiest and most harmless way to let out your frustration. Everyone from the first-time fan to the sportswriter is guilty of thinking or saying evil things to the referee. Even coaches.

This brings us to the latest outburst by none other than Georgetown’s very own men’s basketball head coach, Craig Esherick. Following Sunday’s win over West Virginia, Esherick lashed out at the referees for their unfair treatment of ike Sweetney. Esherick claimed that referees were not calling fouls on Sweetney’s defenders because of Sweetney’s 6-foot-8, 260-pound frame.

Coming off disheartening losses at Virginia and Duke, Esherick had every right to be angry at seemingly biased referee decisions that possibly cost those two games for Georgetown. The common theme of both losses was that Sweetney got into foul trouble for questionable contact while his defenders would not be called for harder, more obvious hacks. One would think that Sweetney, an All-American candidate and unquestionably Georgetown’s best player, would get some respect from the referees.

In the Virginia and Duke games, the refs treated Sweetney like a freshman. Because Sweetney is such a good free-throw shooter, opponents withheld from implementing a Hack-a-Shaq strategy and did the next best thing. They came as close to a foul as they could against Sweetney: scratching, bumping and even hacking him in the post. Refs treated Sweetney like Lennie from Of Mice and Men. Part of the reason why Sweetney stands out is his ability to use his size and take up space in the paint. With lankier players defending him, it is natural for Sweetney to push them around.

Esherick’s complaints against the refs were valid because he argued for the equal treatment of players. Just because Sweetney was bigger than the rest of the West Virginia squad does not mean that he can take punishment better or that soft fouls don’t apply to him. Equality of treatment is something that referees can improve and control.

Unlike Esherick’s plea for unbiased officiating, the incidents that have taken place during the playoffs have made referees as popular as the leader of North Korea. After the Giants-49ers wild card game two weeks ago, Paul Tagliabue called the game the worst-officiated contest in his 13 years as NFL commissioner. Tagliabue targeted his criticism at the broken play in which Giants punter Matt Allen took a bad field goal snap and threw it downfield to an offensive lineman with no time remaining. Flags were thrown by the officials signaling pass interference, but the game ended because the refs ruled that the receiver was ineligible.

Following the confusing, jaw-dropping play, people called for Allen’s head. Fox football commentator Cris Collinsworth swore on his life that Allen should have spiked the ball because it was third down and felt that his mistake was inexcusable. Other football experts agreed. But after a lengthy investigation into the play determining that Allen did do the right thing, Collinsworth and all the other “gurus” ate their words.

Referees who call games in the playoffs are the best referees of the regular season. They are required to take tests each week of the season and even the oldest of officials are physically fit. However, even they could not figure out the finish of that wild game because what occurred was a one in a million scenario that no one could have prepared for.

As much as we like to think, referees are not superhuman encyclopedias and they will make wrong calls from time to time. Ideally, every game should be called to perfection, but anyone who has ever partaken in a sport from the peewee to the professional level has been on both the right and wrong side of a referee’s call. Refereeing mistakes are as much a part of the game as are the fans’ insults to the refs.

I am not excusing the referees from the Giants-49ers game, but I am suggesting that all the instant replay and officiating technology being promoted makes games slower and less watchable. Football, a sport that already has breaks after every down, loses its momentum and energy with the interruptions of instant replay, challenges, and reviews.

Referees are put on the field for a reason, to call a game fairly. They are trained and competent professionals who treat their job seriously and are constantly monitored for their performances. With more and more checks being implemented on their power, referees may rely more on the instant replay technology and therefore unconsciously begin to pay less attention to what occurs on the field. In addition the time necessary to check with cameras and people in the upstairs booths will take away from the natural feeling from the sport.

While getting to the truth of a call is obviously the major goal of officiating, the sacrifices being made and suggested may be too great.

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