Lack of accountable pro athletes: Part MCMLXIV
I’ve been a sports fan for nearly thirty years now. As a result, I could probably list 100 pet peeves of mine concerning all things sports, whether it is condescension by coaches and players or stupid, idiotic clichés (“We gave 110%”; “We take it one game at a time”, etc.).
But I have to say, my #1 pet peeve within the context of sports has to be incessant whining about officiating. More specifically, the tired old philosophy of letting the players on the field/court/ice decide the game.
A classic example would be this gem offered up after Monday evening's NFL game won by the New England Patriots, 27-24. Baltimore Ravens CB Samari Rolle lamented a late-game fourth down holding call on teammate Jamaine Winborne:
"In a game of this magnitude, you don't make that kind of call. Let the players decide the outcome of the game.”
To which I say BULL PUCKY!!!!!! If a defensive players grabs the jersey of a receiver beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage, that’s a holding penalty….REGARDLESS OF WHEN OR WHERE IT TAKES PLACE!!!!
In fact, here is the official football definition of defensive holding:
No defensive player is allowed to hold or push an offensive receiver or back on a passing play past the initial five yard chuck-zone. The first five yards past the line of scrimmage, the defense may jam, hold up, the receiver to keep them from getting by, but after that a penalty is awarded to the offense. Special Notes: Automatic first down awarded to offense.
Got that??!! The explanation of defensive holding does not include the phrase “….unless it’s late in the 4th quarter of an important NFL game.” At least, not in any rule book I could find.