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Officials are hurting sports with their whistles

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Referees are the police of the sports world. They enforce the rules of the game, make split-second decisions and prevent any team or player from exploiting aspects of the game, all from a neutral standpoint.

Their sole purpose is to provide the fairest outcome possible within the parameters of the sport.

However, do referees abuse their power? Do they make mistakes that change the outcome of games? Do they do the exact opposite of what is intended, provide a fair outcome?

I think so.

There have been many instances in recent years where it has been obvious that referees have affected the outcome of a game, whether it is on purpose or accidental.

Recently, the NFL came under fire when their replacement referees, put in action during a lockout for the original referees, seemingly blew a Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks on the final play of the game.

A controversial call ended the game with the Seahawks being the winner, when the overall consensus was that the Packers should have won. Fans were outraged and the media set the replacement referees ablaze.

Now that may be an extreme circumstance, being that they were not the original referees of the sport, but it has happened to the originals too, countless times.

Just over a week ago, during a wild card playoff game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves, an umpire called a controversial infield fly rule, resulting in an automatic out for the Braves batter, even though the Cardinals players dropped the fly ball.

The ball landed nowhere near the infield and many people felt the call was terrible, including Atlanta fans that littered the field with trash following the call.

Baseball umpires have been known to abuse their power.

For instance, the home plate umpire is in charge of calling balls and strikes, based solely on his opinion. These umpires do not like being shown up. An example of showing up the umpire would be a batter starting to walk to first base after believing the previous pitch was ball four, only to have to come back to the plate because the ump called it a strike. Umpires hate this, and nine times out of 10, call the batter out on strikes even if the last pitch looked like a ball.

While this is an umpire’s way of asserting his presence and showing his disapproval of being shown up, it is an abuse of his power and could easily affect the outcome of the game.

With the advancements in technology, especially in replay, can we limit the roles that referees play in these sports and rely more on technology to determine the outcome?

Or do we keep the “integrity” of the sport, and continue to risk unfair results for the teams we have grown to love?

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Officials are hurting sports with their whistles