Last fall, the star quarterback for Shawnee High School was suspended for two games during the state playoffs for fighting. In the closing seconds of the class 5A quarterfinal game, a defender jumped over the line on a kneel-down play, and Tucker Brown responded by kicking him. He was ejected from the game, and that ejection automatically carried a two game suspension, which made him ineligible for the semifinals and finals (if Shawnee could continue winning). Rather than accept the consequences, the Brown family (whose dad also happened to be the head football coach) decided to take it to court. They eventually lost, and Shawnee failed to win a state title.
At the time, the public outcry in Oklahoma was questioning the lesson being taught to those Shawnee players through all of this. It sure appears they were being taught to fight and argue and sue until you get the outcome you want.
Fast forward to this week's events in the Oklahoma-Oregon game. Oklahoma is complaining about two calls that went against them, even after replay reviews. I'm not even getting into whether the calls were right or wrong. I think most people have concluded that at least the on-side kick call was wrong, and if that had been called correctly, the second one would never have happened.
My question is how you handle a situation such as this.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren asked Big 12 conference Commissioner Kevin Weiberg to seek the following on OU's behalf:
1. An apology from the Pac-10 Conference for the "gross errors" in officiating.
2. Suspension of game officials for the rest of the season
3. Removal of the Pac-10 Conference rule stating that it will only use Pac-10 officials in nonconference games at Pac-10 campuses.
4. Request that the game should not go into the record books as a win or loss by either team.
5. Place on the appropriate agendas of NCAA meetings and conference commissioners' meetings a discussion of how the film review process should be conducted
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The instant replay official whose failure to overturn a bad call led to a narrow Oregon victory over Oklahoma said Monday he feels like he is under siege after threatening phone calls, including a death threat.
Riese said he has stopped answering the phone, and police are investigating the threatening calls while keeping an eye on his neighborhood.
"They not only threatened me, they threatened my wife and kids," Riese said.
So, what are our young people being taught by the University of Oklahoma? If calls don't go your way, write a letter demanding that the result of the game be overturned and officials be suspended. Demand apologies.
And by OU fans? Since football is a life and death thing, be sure to support your university by flooding the offending official and his family with death threats so he won't do it again.
Unfortunately, I'm not surprised, considering the source.
How long until that exact thing happens on the high school level, now that it has been modeled by a university? How long will it be before we read of high schools demanding that a loss be taken off their record because of poor officiating? How long until some high school student, angry about his team supposedly being jilted by a game official, goes to his house and shoots him?
Why can't we use an event such as this to teach how life isn't always fair? That people make mistakes sometimes, and they can't always be righted? That God alone is perfect, and in this world there will be injustice on occasion?
What gives OU the right to cast the first stone? Did they play a perfect game? Did they not make a single mistake? Why is it just the mistake of these officials that supposedly cost them this game? Is there no personal responsibility? If they had played better the previous 55 minutes would they have been in this situation? Is a mistake in the first quarter somehow not as important as one in the final quarter?
Why isn't OU equally upset that they couldn't execute a 44 yard field goal as time expired that would have won the game regardless of the official's mistakes? Why not request a public apology from the kicker for kicking the ball too low, or from the line for failing to block well enough? Why single out the officials?
Sad, sad, sad. OU, you should be ashamed of yourself. OU fans, you should be ashamed of your university president and of the action of some (not all) of your fans.
But, in general, I'm really just sad at how serious sports have become in our society. They aren't worth law suits and death threats, people. Get over it and move on to next week's game.