Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Give the Refs a Break

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2012 Sep 26

I know what I’m about to say may not be very popular, especially today.

Last night’s chaotic and controversial end to the Seahawks and Packers Monday Night Football game has thrown gasoline on the fire surrounding the performance of replacement officials in the NFL.

And let me just say that I get it. I’m a fan. I watch the games. I enjoy the purity of the sport and don’t appreciate the delays and the mistakes that impact outcomes.

But I think it’s time that we take a collective deep breath and step back from all the hype and hyperbole.

One of the commentators last night called the incident “a tragedy.”

That a Green Bay interception was called a Seattle touchdown is no tragedy.

The scourge of abortion, the deterioration of the family, broken marriages and children growing up without a mother and a father, issues we deal with every day here at Focus, is true tragedy.

That the Green Bay Packers left Seattle with a loss that should have been a win may be an injustice, but I wonder why we’re often more riled up about a loss on the field than the ongoing sorrows of everyday life?

It’s become popular to mock the replacement referees, for coaches to ridicule and yell in frustration. I may wince when I see a bad call, but I cringe when I see a good man who is doing his best maligned and disrespected.

These referees may not be getting every call right, but they’ve also been thrown into a nearly impossible situation. They haven’t been adequately trained to navigate all the complexities of professional football.

In some ways, the replacement referees remind me of parents. Moms and dads are often thrust into difficult situations with minimal training. We so want to succeed and we’re committed to doing our best.

We want to get every “call” right.

But what should happen when we don’t? When the intent is good and the effort is pure, wouldn’t we want our children and spouse to extend us an extra measure of grace? Would we want to be subjected to a verbal barrage of insults? Of course not.

One of the best things children (and players) can learn from this ongoing controversy is that injustices often occur. In life and in games, we must roll with reality. When we’re treated unfairly we must respectfully do what we can to correct the slight, but when that effort has been exhausted, it’s time to move on.

Don't grumble, mumble and gripe. Get on with your life.

And let’s give the refs a break.

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