Credibility, An Officials Foundation

by Hubert McCloud

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has come to a close and the closing ceremony went off better than the opening. This time all five rings where lit but a cloud still hovered over the ceremony. It is unexplainable how a figure skater who was not known until she took Gold for her home country falls and still wins! WHAT???

Yes, the Russian figure skater, Adelina Sotnikova, an unknown skated away with the Gold medal for Russia. Not only was there an online petition that quickly filled with irate fans, but also creditability was magnified for those who officiate. Just when NBA fans have almost forgotten about the black-eye that Tim Donaghy who pled guilty to betting on games he worked in the NBA during his last two years, the question of fairness is being highlighted.

On the biggest stages in the World, the Olympics, with all eyes upon the games, officials still have the nerve to do things that will put their creditability and the sports creditability in jeopardy. As an official of 5 high school sports, College Women's Basketball Official and an ABA Official, with over 20 years of experience, I was often asked after Donaghy's admission of guilt, "How can that happen?"

Adelina Sotnikova
Feb 20, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA: Adelina Sotnikova of Russia performs in the ladies free skate program during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Iceberg Skating Palace. Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports.

My response is that they are people who can have their standards lower to make a few extra bucks. But those few extra bucks are not worth losing the thousands that NBA officials make each year. And now no one will have confidence in him or for the Russian judge who was caught on tape embracing Sotnikova.

The role of an official is one that I believe that 99.98 percent of those who wears an official's uniform, take and pass the required tests and attend the mandated camps/clinics are impartial. No matter if it is my high school alma mater, I owe it to the kids that I remain unbiased.

Officials are human and they are not going to get every call the way you, the fan, want them to call it. They will miss some, but in all reality officials are there for only two reasons and that is it.
  1. Enforcement of the rules and
  2. Safety First! The lower the level the more this principle needs to be applied.
For the fans that go to games and blame their teams lost on the official(s), remember the official(s) may have made one or two bad calls, but they never get to call plays, they never drop the pass or fumble, they never jump offside, they never miss a lay-up or open shot on goal or for hitting the ball out of bounce. Direct your displeasure to the correct individuals and not the officials.

The majority of officials take their job very serious and stand by their creditability! These are the pillars of this career and those that think cheating will benefit them are not going to be in this career long.

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