The 20 Worst Cases of Ref Abuse in Sports

Ed NoveloCorrespondent IIIAugust 26, 2011

The 20 Worst Cases of Ref Abuse in Sports

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    If the Miami Heat thought they were over-analyzed, try being a referee for a day. 

    They have to deal with large, scary and sometimes aggressive players, the constant booing from the crowd, and the unyielding scrutiny of every blown whistle from those across the Internet and every sports network.

    It's a tough job, and it has some calling for refs to be replaced with robots. OK, I'm calling for refs to be replaced with robots, but at least then they won't be abused like in the following 20 instances.

    Now let's look at some referees getting beat down, questioned, yelled at and sexually harassed, and as we'll see, they're never safe.  

But First, the Future of Sports Officiating

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    Just in case you were wondering...

20. Phillie Phanatic Seduces Umpire

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    Note: You're going to want to hit mute before you play this video.

    Sexual harassment is no joke, except when it occurs between an uptight umpire and a fat, furry, green abomination—seriously, what is that thing? And should I beat it with a stick, or call a priest?

19. Paul Pierce Accidentally Punches Ref

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    Frankly, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.

    You have to look before you celebrate.

18. Jim Gray Doing What He Does Best

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    Jim Gray is known for being, um, contentious, and most times I want to punch him as much as the person he's interviewing.  

    But he was absolutely right about this one. Those shots were clearly below the belt.

    Hopefully, this is the first and last time I have to agree with Jim Gray.

17. Rugby Player Knocks Ref Out...Kind of

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    When you're showing footage of a rugby game, your initial thought is that a player either (a) lost his mind and stomped the ref till he was as thin as a pancake, or (b) he was accidentally caught in the scrum.

    But it was neither.

    It was super-secret option (c). He was knocked out by the ball itself.   

16. Serena Williams Threatens to Kill!

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    Personally, I think the line judge overreacted a bit, but when a woman, who in all actuality could be a man, walks up to you and threatens to kill you, you have good reason to be afraid.

    And it cost Serena the match. It's OK, she was losing anyways. 

15. Every Manager/Umpire Argument Ever

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    Tell me if this sounds familiar. 

    You're watching a baseball game and an umpire—or any one of the refs—makes a "bad" call. The manager runs out and gets in his face. You ask yourself if what you're watching is real, or just a WWE skit. 

    The manager throws his hat down, kicks some dirt and proceeds to lose his mind.

    The ref crosses his arms and goes to his happy place until it's over.

    Lou Piniella demonstrates this to perfection.

14. This Is Why Refs Should Wear Cups

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    There's nothing worse than getting hit in the nuts—you feel sick, your stomach hurts, and for a few seconds you're vision is engulfed by a bright white light.

    That's what happens to me, anyways.

    This just goes to show that the ref is never safe, and he should really wear a cup.

13. Just One of Many John McEnroe Highlights

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    John McEnroe had some serious issues on the court, and this umpire wasn't the first, and certainly wasn't the last, that he chewed out.

    Considering the other incidents on this list, things could have been a lot worse. He could have thrown his racket at him.

12. Player Banned After Attack

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    Since this video starts with the altercation already at its peak, and since I don't speak Chinese, I have no idea what led to this attack. 

    But whatever it was, it pissed this player off enough to chase him down, which led to this player being banned for life.

11. Sometimes It's Better to Just Walk Away

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    It's amazing how serious some people take these small and insignificant local leagues, and I think the umpire had the right idea to just walk away before the matter escalated any further. 

    Two more minutes and these idiots would have had his head on a stick. 

10. And Sometimes It's Better to Fight Back

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    It amazes me that this fan was able to run all the way across the field without any attempt whatsoever to stop him before he launches at the referee.

    Good thing this ref is half judo master, because he took the attack as a challenge.

    It's like that episode of That 70s Show when Kelso wants to fight the Cheese Guy, only to find out that he's a black belt in karate.

    Big mistake.

9. At Least He Tried to Fight Back...up Until He Ran for His Life

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    Much of the time when a ref gets attacked, they don't do anything about it, but this ref said screw that.

    I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but somewhere in between getting knocked around like a pinball, he aborted his plan and ran for the hills.

    Good idea.

8. Another Ref Runs for His Life

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    How many jump kicks does it take to bring down a referee? By my count, more than six.

    And take a look at the player go down like Juggernaut punched him at the 40-second mark. Seriously, what is wrong with these soccer players?

    I'd like to see how they react to a windy day.

7. Conflict Resolution, If Taught by Jose Offerman

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    Misunderstandings are a common part of everyday life. It's how we deal with those misunderstandings that separates those who will succeed in society, and those who will fail.

    Jose Offerman will teach us how to succeed in a simple three-step program.

    1. Start by calmly explaining your point of view, gradually getting louder and more obnoxious while stepping deeper into their personal space, until your lips are dangerously close to theirs—do not kiss them. 

    2. Sometimes your words are not enough. Demonstrate your displeasure through hand signals. Nothing says you're unhappy like throwing your hands around.

    3. Should he cross his arms—a sure-fire sign that he has closed himself off to your opinion—knock that fool out. He was a chump, anyhow. 


    You now know how to solve every problem in life.

6. Be Careful When Stepping Between Two Boxers

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    The first time the Cuban boxer knocked out the referee, we could say it was an accident. But the second time he almost knocked out the back-up referee?

    I'm starting to think this guy has ulterior motives, or maybe he's just a terrible boxer.

5. It Was the Second Hit That Did It

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    Refs do their best to stay out of the way during a play, but sometimes they're still run over. That could happen when you have about 20 large men running around trying to tackle each other.

    For a moment, it looked as though the ref had dodged a bullet, then he took a knee to the side of his head.

4. He Never Saw It Coming

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    If you look closely, you can actually see the birds chirping around the ref's head at the 8-second mark after he's knocked out. 

    For about 10 seconds there, he thought he was a chicken, or possibly Paula Abdul.

3. Ref Gets Slammed by High School Player

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    At one time or another, we've all wanted to slam a referee into the ground—you know it's true—but you're never actually supposed to do it. 

    And don't think because this is a high school game that this player is any smaller than a grown man. In most homes, his head would be scraping the ceiling. 

2. Judo Kick to the Face!

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    If I were a referee, one of the sports I'd be most afraid of officiating is martial arts.

    The reason: If they were to get pissed at me, I'm looking straight at either a swift and efficient kick or punch. And if they're especially talented, both at the same time.

    This ref tasted foot. 

1. Player Explodes Referee's Face

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    How do you get suspended for life in your league? It's simple: knock the ref out with a single punch.

    How bad a punch was it?

    He was unconscious for three hours, had a dislocated and fractured jaw, and had to undergo emergency surgery to save the vision in his left eye.