Why should factual criticism of officiating be fined?

False accusations against officials *(“The refs were bribed”) *should not be tolerated, but why should truthful criticism (“I was flagged for roughing the passer but if you watch the replay I never even touched the quarterback”) be fined?

Are they fined? I’ve never heard of that.

It hurts the brand. Everyone on the field, including the officials, is an NFL employee (in a way) and they don’t want anyone from inside the NFL criticizing anyone else. (Unless it increases ratings)

The appearance of squelching truth arguably hurts it more.

What I find it odd – given this policy – is that the NFL allows all sorts of criticism on their website (NFL.com), including from their paid writers, commentators, and fan posts.

Does anyone have a cite of such a thing even happening?




Media members, bloggers etc etc aren’t competitors.

The moment you allow a player or a coach to criticize officials and the league doesn’t have their back sends a clear message to them that chaos reigns on the field, and then you can bully, push around and say whatever you want to them, and authority breaks down during a game. The next thing you know, the refs think the league doesn’t have THEIR back, and god knows what goofy calls they will make to keep from getting bullied by one of the sides and protect themselves from getting their asses kicked.

There has to be clear level of respect shown to the officials, no matter their level of competence or lack thereof.

This. Watching EPL I am so bothered by how players surrounded the center official after a controversial call. I mean you aren’t going to change the guys mind so just back off. I’d love to see the Premiership enforce a rule preventing this from happening.

Russian Heel has it right. The officials have to be shown respect on the field and off or a game with some bad blood between teams turns into chaos and hurts the brand.

It’s not like the NFL doesn’t crack down on bad officiating. Every down of every game is reviewed and each official is critiqued by the league office. There are consequences for blowing calls.

Players and coaches don’t argue with the ref to change the current call. They argue to influence future calls. Maybe you can get in their head and get them to see a similar call differently later in the game. Or, if the ref really is horrible, they’ll start to think they did blow this particular call and give a “makeup” call. The latter shouldn’t ever happen at the pro level, but it certainly can happen at other levels.

Of course the players need to respect the refs. What does that have to do with disputing calls? Disputing calls is an inherent part of sports.

It may be common, but it’s certainly not inherent. You can play without arguing any calls.

If we are talking the NFL then the coaches and players certainly do voice their displeasure after a call. As long as they do it without interfering with further gameplay it is allowed. After the game there is recourse during the review and evaluation process to have your point heard in a meaningful way. What is not allowed is bitching to the press about how you were screwed by the refs.

They also collapse like they took a hit from a sniper whenever anyone comes close. Dramatics have become part of the game.

Officials should certainly be given maximum respect on the field, even moreso than today, IMHO. Off the field, however, players and coaches should be free to express their opinions of different calls in the game. I can’t imagine why the league thinks they need to protect officials from that. It’s not like they’re SDMB mods… :wink:

How many of you could keep your job if you started publicly criticizing the job performance of other employees? These guys should try being an independent football player for a while before they shoot their mouths off in public.

The first example is a coach being fined for an opinion, not a "factual statement"and the second is for behavior in-game. The last is closest, a college coach saying refs missed a call. However, according to the article, the threshold is "any negative comments regarding officials. That would prevent any arguments about whether a statement is a fact or opinion, since it can be blurry.

If it’s really true that the replay shows the call was clearly wrong, why should the player even bring it up? The media will surely point it out, and their credibility will be much greater than that of a player who was involved in the game.