Playing sports competitively for a big chunk of my life has given me a lot of things – it taught me important life lessons about teamwork, it kept me fit and I certainly learned a lot along the way.
One thing referees might have learned about me over the years is that I’ve never been shy about letting them know how I feel in no uncertain terms whenever they make what I perceive to be a bad call…and it’s good to know I’m not alone in that respect.
English striker Wayne Rooney caught some heat this past week when he gave an official an earful during a pre-tournament friendly against South Africa’s Platinum Stars in a place called Rustenburg.
Reports say after some pretty questionable calls in the 3-0 England win, Rooney turned to Jeff Selogilwe and said “f*** you.”
To me that’s not a big deal, but the ref seems pretty wound up about the whole thing, warning Roo that he needs to learn to control his temper. He’s not mad though – just disappointed, because Rooney, he says, is his favorite player.
Nevertheless, this story has brought on a funny little follow up story: The Associated Press reports that the officiating crew for Saturday’s England/USA match has been studying up the “lexicon of English-language obscenities,” lest some players get a little heated.
I can just picture a room full of referees going through the long list of English terms that fall into that category – words they’ve probably all heard in the past directed at them, but ones they couldn’t be certain were swears.
“At the end of the day, you don’t understand half of it,” former Premier League and FIFA referee Graham Barber told the AP. “So what do you do about it? Say ‘I think he swore at me, so I sent him off?’ You don’t, do you?”
I never thought about it, but if you knew a ref didn’t speak your language very well you could probably slip some mean things into your argument about a call…as long as you didn’t make them sound like swear words.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see who gets the first yellow card for bad language!