Should Refs be Fined?


Chris Pearcy

The umpire is standing on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage counting the number of players on the field, reviewing player equipment, and marking off yardage for penalties.

Being a referee is one of the most demanding occupations in all of sports. Tens of thousands of spectators are watching them in the stadium, and an even greater number are doing so at home. 

Referees need to develop a wide range of skills, particularly the ones that advance in their professional careers. 

“The ability to remain unbiased, in my opinion, is the most crucial trait a referee or umpire can possess,” senior Rylan Campbell said. “Since the fundamental responsibility of the referee is to act as a neutral official who does not favor one team over another, errors made by the official should be equally likely to benefit either team.” 

Every sport includes challenging refereeing jobs, but depending on how one looks at it, some may be more difficult than others.

“I believe that football referees have the toughest job since they have to keep an eye on a number of variables, including whether the player gets their feet in bounds at the same time as they catch the ball,” junior Cooper Smith said. “Football has many rules, and referees have to make game-changing calls at the end of games.”

The ability to remain unbiased, in my opinion, is the most crucial trait a referee or umpire can possess.

— senior Rylan Campbell

On Super Bowl Sunday, when the Chiefs met the Eagles, one of the most recent instances of a crucial and controversial call occurred. With just under two minutes in the fourth quarter with the game tied, the Chiefs were deep in Eagle’s territory. On a third down play, a penalty flag for holding was thrown by the referees. This allowed the Chiefs to run down the play clock and kick a game-winning field goal with barely any time left. 

“I was watching the game, and after seeing the video of what had occurred, I immediately grabbed my phone and texted my friends since I didn’t think the call had been made correctly,” Campbell said. “I observed countless remarks criticizing the refs on social media after the game was done. ‘Scripted,’ according to some comments, and ‘many stuff about them winning the game for the Chiefs,’ according to others.” 

After the game, the majority of the Eagles’ players and coaches agreed that the call was significant, but the result of the game cannot be determined by one decision. The player, James Bradberry, who committed the foul even admitted to it. Each of them asserted that countless other plays throughout the game were just as important. Referees are human like the rest of us, and after making difficult judgments during games, it can be mentally challenging for them. 

“Most officials do a good job,” boys basketball head coach Matt Lange said. “Refereeing is a very tough job that requires thick skin because they are being criticized by a number of people at all times. From a coaching aspect, a good referee is willing to communicate with me and is open to discussion.” 

There are continued discussions about changing rules in a variety of sports when it comes to utilizing the technology that is available. 

Absolutely not, they are human and mistakes will happen. They operate in an extremely fast-paced environment with a ton of moving parts, so it is very easy to miss something or make a mistake.

— coach Matt Lange

“Replays should be treated as an extra official on the crew,” Lange said. “It should be something that can be consulted only when there is an issue. If there is a situation when a replay is unavailable, I think that it is a good idea for officials to work together to ensure that the correct call is made.” 

There will always be contentious calls in the realm of professional sports. Sports leagues determine whether or not referees should receive fines. 

“Absolutely not, they are human and mistakes will happen,” Lange said. “They operate in an extremely fast-paced environment with a ton of moving parts, so it is very easy to miss something or make a mistake. If referees were fined for missed calls, it would be extremely hard to find good referees, and the games would take more time because of the number of extra calls.”

However, everyone has their own opinion when it comes to this topic, and this is a continued topic of debate. 

“In my opinion, referees should have the possibility of receiving a fine if they incorrectly call a vital foul when the replay clearly demonstrates that it was present,” Smith said. “They should be held just as accountable as the athletes and coaches. Players should receive the fair calls they are due when they give their all to a game they desire to win.”