I see there's another article on the front page; this one that categorically denies any 'religious' significance to the finger gesture, so I'm glad that wasn't the issue. But . . . it was still the wrong call. I'll quote the pertinent part of the investigation:
the student athlete raised his hand and gestured forward at the conclusion of the 4×100-meter relay. The meet official approached the student-athlete in an effort to warn him of a possible disqualification should that behavior continue. In the opinion of the official, the student reacted disrespectfully. Based on his reaction, the student-athlete was subsequently disqualified. Any decision to disqualify a student-athlete at any track meet must be upheld by the head meet referee. The meet official and the meet referee conferred, and the disqualification was upheld on-site. [the boy said] "my actions upon winning the 4×100 relay were strictly the thrill of victory."
Notice there is zero discussion of the boy's gesture, nor what his 'disrespect' was. Both are at the heart of the matter. If the gesture was (as described), the index finger raised to the side of the head, that is not EXCESSIVE. Notice that the boy was NOT DQed for the gesture. The official could have left it as that. Instead the official felt the need to reprimand the boy anyway. It was then that "in the opinion of the official" that the boy was disrespectful. In the heat of the moment, no telling what the boy said, but without more info, there is no basis for disqualification there. As a state official, I know it is our job to recede into the background and let the athletes sort out the places. It sure sounds to me that one of my brother officials decided that he was more important than the outcome of the competition. I very much doubt that I, as Meet Referee, would have upheld the official's call. Very sad.
this deal was a bit disconcerting to me as well - even without the 'facts' referrred to in the article. While not a HS meet of course, but I'm wondering if Alan Webb would have, by those standards, been disqualified for conduct displayed after his big win in 2004 Oly Trials. Or the Oregon triad after the 2008 800 thriller. I wonder if officials realise that winning a race that has some significance (could be defined broadly for HS athletes) AND hormones + adrenaline can lead to some exuberance.
I was watching a video some time back and I think it was one of Bolt's Olympic wins. He went to the ground and one could see he was elated with his performance. How strange he would do that! and then he did this odd 'stance-like' positioning of his body - drawing attention to himself... could it be excessive celebration; I know Olympics, and grown men, are different than your standard HS regional meet but ... I appreciated what Marlow said.
That said - I don't know what happened. But if it does fit the Marlow view of the meet official running after the guy to issue a 'warning' - limited awareness of human behavior methinks. "Disrespectful" . Was there some rainin on someone's parade.
just watched an NBA video of a ref calling technical fouls on each player of the Celtics all within 7 min. 5 Ts in 7 minutes
One sparsly haired NBA ref called 2 technicals on NBA wildman Tim Duncan within a minute or so ... Camby - Nash ... oh wait - I'm getting carried away ... How come there are no tall refs in NBA?
I am with Marlow here. WTF is "excessive"? How often do they throw an "excessive celebration" flag in football for not all that much? Is not a definition of "excessive" in the eye of the beholder? To go a step further, I hate all the rules that require "interpretation" or "intent".
There's been a lot of talk over the years about preventative officiating. It sounds like this official was trying to prevent the athlete from getting a DQ in a future meet. I don't know how the official approached the athlete or what the athlete said, but it was the athlete's response that got him in trouble. I don't think the official should be criticized for trying to prevent an athlete from getting a DQ.
polevaultpower wrote:I don't think the official should be criticized for trying to prevent an athlete from getting a DQ.
It all depends on the tone and approach. I've been in that situation. You call the kid aside and in a very calm low tone, you EXPLAIN what might happen in the future. I've never had any response other than, "Oh, OK, thanks."
I endorse Marlow's approach. Obviously, no one here witnessed the DQ but, in my experience, the athlete is seldom directly disrespectful to the official but over/inappropriately reacts to a decision. A private, friendly counseling may prevent future DQs....and don't filter it through the coach. It has rarely happened in 40 + years of officating but, if and athlete challenges/attacks/insults me or another official or athlete personally, refuses to follow instructions or is loudly profane, he/she is gone.
lonewolf wrote:It has rarely happened in 40 + years of officating but, if and athlete challenges/attacks/insults me or another official or athlete personally, refuses to follow instructions or is loudly profane, he/she is gone.
In all my years I have had one time when an athlete overtly disrespected the rules. A young lady refused to remove a nose ring. I told her she couldn't wear it and she said, "This is a free country and I can wear what I want." I agreed with her and then told her she was free to go up in the stands and watch the other athletes compete. That's the only time.