She Said: The Replacement Refs

A comparison of the NFL replacement refs and the Georgia Political Landscape

Fresh off the Monday Night Football game with a match up between the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos, I admit to having a little more city pride and zip in my step.  Let’s face it. We all love to root for the home team and it’s even more fun when they win.

In full disclosure, I am not a football aficionado. My love of sports is contained to the every four-year Olympic cycle, the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl and maybe an occasional basketball game.

I don’t judge those who can name every Heisman winner since the beginning of time or those who worship at the altar of UGA football, lest I be judged for my chosen sports pastime of bargain shopping and celebrating the arrival of the September issue of Vogue as if it were Moses descending from the mountaintop.

Those sports disclaimers and qualifiers in place, Monday night’s game was trickier than usual for me to follow in large part due to some new folks on the gridiron known collectively as the “replacement refs.”

Thanks to some armchair quarterbacking from a friend, I learned the replacement refs are a crew of referee newbies brought in while the regular referees are on strike. Even as left leaner, replacement refs seems very PC to my ears. Back in the day, folks who crossed a picket line were called Scabs and weren’t thought of too highly.

Watching my Twitter feed last night during the game, it turns out the PC replacement refs don’t have lots of friends either. One GOP pal on the feed noted that a ref had just called an icing penalty (the hockey term had to be explained to me).

Other commentary on the referring of too much laundry on the field, a first-half that was the twice the typical play time and coaches asking for play review (apparently, a clear rule book violation) abounded. Shoot, even I know that a passing violation means the offending player needs to be in the vicinity of the ball.

A series of bad call means you don’t have control of the game and instead of talking about the game, folks were talking about the refs.

The whole experience got me to thinking about politics and the number of replacement refs we have the on the political field.

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts said during his confirmation hearing, “The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.”

In that same speech, Roberts also talked about having the modesty in decision-making to consider the views of colleagues.

I don’t see a lot of modesty in politics these days, or much of the public servant mentality. The rules seem to be made up as we go along. Consideration of the views and opinions of others seems to have gone out the window replaced by blind political allegiance and bold power grabs. Rules are changed to fit circumstances and benefit some. The replay shot rolls out over and over again, but the ball isn’t advanced.

I’m pretty sure my view is shared across the political belief spectrum. People are just sick and tired of rhetoric, poor sportsmanship, rule bending, unlevel playing fields and special interest purchasing power. Our political landscape has become a series of bad calls.  

Don’t misunderstand that I want any game thrown in my favor. I love competition and a challenge. But I also want to know the game rules and want to know those rules will be fairly and evenly applied. Then, may the best [wo]man/team win.

In Georgia, our focus should be expanding access to a well-played game. Every citizen should have equal access to government and voting, transparency through a set of rules we all play by and a penalty when we don’t. We should be pulling together as a team for the best interests of our citizens and a dialogue that provides the best ideas to advance our game, no matter where that idea comes from.

No team will ever win all the games and we’ll still see a bad call from time to time. But as Georgians, we should all be talking about the game, not the replacement refs. Otherwise, we all lose.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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