Politically Correct Refereeing

By An Ex-Navy Rugby Player

Navy Vs Air Force  October 1st 2011 and a look at history

Two well-respected institutions met in a football game. It was one of those games that will last forever in service Academy legend. The skill of both teams was evident. Serious football players with serious coaches both trying to win on a blustery field in Annapolis and they made football history.

Air Force won in overtime after the Midshipman made a remarkable comeback to tie the game. Navy scored first in overtime play but missed the PAT because the ref had thrown a penalty flag after the Navy Quarterback had scored and yelled at AF players to get out of his way as he looked and moved to the sideline.

The “unsportsman like penalty” moved the Navy kicker from a sure thing to a greater distance. The kick was blocked AF then scored and successfully kicked the winning point-35-34.

Football games take place every week in the fall through out America. A team wins and a team loses, but how this football game was played and how it was decided will be discussed for many years to come. For Navy players and their coach to be so politely blunt tells exactly what happened. The work of the refs being called “pitful” by a Navy player is an understatement.

As Navy Coach Niumatalolo said both teams have players will be in active service during a time of war. In fact all Cadets and Midshipman volunteered to join a military at war and combat has killed and wounded many who have gone before.

Their words say it all–

“Everything was going our way until the penalty.” Niumatalolo said. “That is an unfortunate call to make in a hard-fought game. It is a service academy game with two teams who will be serving their country. It was a huge penalty; it changed everything. I hope those guys can sleep well tonight.”

“The game should not come down to a call like that,” said Navy’s Alexander Teich, who ran 148 yards. “We worked so hard. To have a call like that was pitiful. It was horrible.”

Respectful conduct in American sport is expected but there are limits to this trend—let’s first start with schoolyard “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

Clipping, roughing the kicker, face-mask infractions and other such physical actions can have real and tragic consequences. So being watchful for nasty physical violence is necessary. History tells us emotions can truly run wild. After the November 1894 Army-Navy Game which ended in a full-scale riot with scores of players injured and a duel between an Admiral and General, President Grover Cleveland banned the game. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and President McKinley allowed the series to continue in 1896.

Well the emerging American  “language police” are now all over harmful language as being hateful in thought and word and it was only a matter of time before the language police infiltrated the College referee ranks-sadly Navy paid that price.

A flag for unsportsman like conduct give us all a break!

The only consolation is a flag is being thrown at the Ref for bad judgment, panic and terminal stupidity  in every sports article about this now historic game–

But what if we had had the “language police” throwing penalty flags in the heat of battle in real combat for “unbattle like conduct” what would have changed—

“Darn those Torpedoes Full Speed Ahead” Admiral Farragut Mobile Bay

“War is heck” General William Tecumseh Sherman Address to West Point 1879

“Retreat Heck! We’re just attacking in another direction.” Major General Oliver P. Smith, USMC, Korea, December 1950.

“Goshdarn it, you’ll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!”  Captain Henry P. “Jim” Crowe, USMC, Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943.

Come on, you sons of a guns -do you want to live forever?”   Attributed to Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, USMC, Belleau Wood, June 1918.

“I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the poopie out of the purple-pissing Japanese, before the Gosh darn  MARINES get all the credit!” Lt General George Patton, US Army 1945

So they’ve got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those bad men won’t get away this time!”


Finally the great opening in the book The Caine Mutiny about the fighting Navy in World War II say it all when the Mids will get to the fleet– One of the sailors said “The frigging frigger is frigged” and everyone knew what he was talking about-

And so it goes-of course none of the above frivolous mockery can take the sting out of one of the most “pitiful” performances by referees in any sport any time.

Go Navy Beat Army!

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