Every-Thing Sports

It's time to admit it: Officials are trash

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The Kentucky Derby has been around for 145 years. It's steeped in tradition. Mint juleps, fancy hats, tons of celebrity appearances and so on. This past weekend, the officials made a change of outcome for the first time in that 145 year history. They rewarded Country House, the second place finisher and 65-1 long shot, as the winner instead of Maximum Security. Maximum Security was the actual winner of the race, but was disqualified after a twenty-two minute investigation into claims filed by two jockey's whose claims of interference were looked into.Now, neither horse is running in The Preakness.

The Saints were poised to make another Super Bowl appearance. They had the Rams dead to rights. It was a third and long inside field goal range of a tied game with about less than two minutes left. Getting a first down would allow them to run out the clock and kick the potential game winning field goal with no time left on the clock. However, Bill Vinovich had other plans. TommyLee Lewis was open on a wheel route when Nickell Robey-Coleman decided to destroy him before the ball got there. Vinovich swallowed his whistle and the rest is history.

The Rockets dropped game one to the Warriors by a score of 104-100. A four point loss on the road in game one of the Western Conference semis is not a death sentence, but it could have swung momentum in the Rockets' favor to start the series. There were about four to five times in which a defensive foul could have been called when James Harden was shooting a three pointer giving the Rockets a chance another twelve to fifteen free throws could've made enough of a difference change the outcome of the game.

Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan in 2016 on a Hail Mary on an untimed down. This was the result of a pass interference call that was improperly enforced. In 1990, Colorado beat Missouri in the infamous "Fifth Down Game" which is so infamous, it has its own page on Wikipedia.

Officials have been piss poor for a long time. Unfortunately, they're getting worse. We live in an age in which technology has made some improvements in our lives. When it comes to sports, instant replay has allowed for bad or missed calls to be reversed. The ability of teams to be able to challenge a bad call has been huge. Imagine if Armando Gallaraga could've challenged Jim Joyce's call of safe allowing him to preserve his perfect game bid?

Officials rarely have to face the music like players and coaches do. They often times make themselves apart of the outcome and garner the spotlight, but don't have to face any media scrutiny. The issue of bad officiating isn't new. It's been going on for far too long and it's time to stop. Sports leagues need to do a better job of training officials. They also need to start weeding out older officials who can no longer keep up with the speed of the game, as well as discipline the ones who grade out poorly. This is something fans across the board have been calling for over a number of years. Leagues can no longer hide behind the human error excuse when the technology is readily available. There will be mistakes because we're human, but there shouldn't be outcomes so terribly effected when a solution is at hand. Human error is one thing, but sticking your head in the sand and refusing to embrace a solution to an apparent problem is idiotic.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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