American Football Is Waging a War on Refs

A new video shows a kicker bouncing a ball off of a referee’s face

American footballers have set their sights on the most despised member of the athletic community: referees.

Middle-aged men in stripped clothing have not been under assault like this since the savings and loan crisis. No doubt, you saw the footage from a couple weeks back. Two safeties, ironically named from the ref’s perspective, blindsided the old man and left him for dead. As it happened, the ref was OK, but as this sinister story unraveled, it become increasingly clear that America is not.

First, the two players who administered the hit—successful by one definition of the word, unsuccessful by another—claimed that it was ordered by the coach. The ref, they said, was making bad calls and worse, lobbing racial slurs. The ref denied this and the coach affirmed it, admitting he ordered the hit and resigning his post. Another sordid tale in American football.

The latest bit of ref-related violence also comes out of Texas, where a sly kicker bounced his extra point attempt off of an unsuspecting zebra’s face and then through the uprights. He would no doubt claim it was an accident, but it’s not hard to see it for what it really was: An attempt to be the first high school kicker to ever get his name in the newspaper. Well, it worked LUIS ARANDA. Hope you’re happy. 

Lest we unfairly disparage the state of Texas, it should be noted that Tennessee has its own ref rattling ruffian, and other states probably do too. These are just the most recent examples and the ones captured on video.

But they’re concerning enough that we must break our silence and issue a call for (some) peace in the War on Refs. Referees, believe it or not, are people too. And grievances with them should be settled like we settle all modern conflicts, not with vicious cheap shots, but with internet outrage. Don’t go after the refs on the field guys, go after them online—that’s the new American way. 

Photos by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images