NFL referee Tony Corrente lost his cool during the Miami Dolphins-Indianapolis Colts AFC showdown on Sunday afternoon.
(Warning, explicit language in video)
Now, for the main question on everyone's mind: Should that kind of language draw punishment from Roger Goodell and the league?
Well, let's take at look at the situation from both sides to find out.
Referees Are Mic'd Up
Since the officials have the microphone and are to announce every single call on the field, their diction must be used carefully. In addition to knowing what to say and when to say it, the refs need to be concise and enunciate everything to a T.
On some level, that type of speech becomes a natural skill.
We see and hear how well commentators, broadcasters and announcers speak professionally, and NFL officials are no different. So, whenever communicating to players, coaches and other officials, whatever is said will be heard quite clearly.
Well, that unfortunately ties into profanity, and the refs have to know better. All the time we see coaches and players let emotion sometimes take over. That cannot happen to a referee, because all officials involved are in control of policing the game.
And if the officials begin to express any sort of frustration, the game will become even more chaotic. Include everyone watching on TV, and there can't be a place for profanity from officials.
On-Field Language Can Be Explicit
For anyone who has ever stepped onto a football field, the language can be quite harsh between players. Factor in how many times an official must breakup a potential fight, and it's rather surprising referees don't let loose more often.
On occasion, players from the same team can even get into it. That said, officials also have the players and coaches virtually in their face from the opening kickoff. Not to mention the fans, who can also add to the referees' potential expression of emotions.
Despite officials needing to be perfect with flags, spot of the ball or any call on the field, they are human beings. Humans are not perfect and the referees will make mistakes: Whether it's with language, a call or not communicating enough.
Most definitely, though, should NFL officials be held to the highest of standards. After the first three weeks of the 2012 season with replacements, pro football's zebras deserve more credit than criticism.
Should the NFL punish refs if they accidentally use explicit language?
The situation is obviously up for debate and interpretation. Corrente, however, should not be punished by the league.
A warning at the very least, because of the refs being mic'd up and virtually at the center of everything when the game is getting tense. After all, the Dolphins-Colts contest was a heated battle, and making sure every call was correct is utterly important.
Corrente is also a head official and he needs to always control his crew. Sometimes emotion comes out, because referees are not robots, period. Had this been a consistent re-occurrence, then perhaps.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the incident is approached by Goodell and the NFL.
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