To the editor:
Bill Mayer's recent article entitled "Officials coddled too much" contends that athletic officials are held sacred and aren't subject to the same scrutiny as players and coaches. His article, however, is a prime example of officials being lambasted by the media, therefore, making the point of the article somewhat ironic.
I would ask Mayer when the last time was he heard or read anything that praised athletic officials for a good game or a great call. If Adonis Jordan, Chip Hilleary, Tony Sands or Alonzo Jamison have a good game for Kansas, they are instant heroes in the press. If Roy Williams sends his team to the Final Four, he is the saint of coaching.
Do we ever read an article or hear a story about the men in stripes performing beyond expectations? Are the officials assigned to the Final Four given the same praise as the coaches and players participating? We all know this does not happen in real life; maybe just in Mayer's hypothetical "biosphere in Arizona."
Mayer says that "zebras are allowed to waltz off under the protection of a gag rule." The "gag rule" applies to both coaches and officials, except that coaches break the rule and officials don't. When is the last time you heard an official say after a game that a coach or a player really blew the game? Never!
Recent years have demonstrated the need for constantly striving to improve the quality of officials in all sports. I would agree with Mayer that too often there are "too many assignments without enough of the truly talented" to fill the needs. However, articles such as his only hurt the chances of getting more individuals into officiating; willing to take abuse as a major part of the profession.
An old officials' saying states that with every call, you make 50 percent of the people happy and 50 percent of the people mad. The 50 percent that is mad get an awful lot of press time. The 50 percent that is happy must be the quiet ones!
Gordon L. Kratz,
KSHSAA registered official.