Trust! Is it gone?

ON THE TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS August 1, 2016 #604 Up next…Trust! Is it gone?

After further review…The use of video replay to correct on-course judgments by players and officials in recent golf tournaments has raised many issues of its use. Golf and tennis have “traditionally” operated under the honor system. My undergraduate studies at Occidental College (L.A.) employed that method and functioned very well for test taking and the like. That system reinforces “honesty is the best policy.” It has served me well in all that I do.

The honor system was not in place in T*E*A*M sports that I played or officiated. It is hard to imagine a WR in football, after scoring a TD, returning to the closest official and saying, “Excuse me, but I stepped out of bounds at the two-yard line and you probably didn’t see it, so it’s okay to take away the TD.” Huh? You kiddin’ me? The same scenario can be created in other T*E*A*M sports as well. Calling fouls and rule violations is only part of an official’s job.

First and foremost, officials are at the scene of the action to ensure that the game is played within the established rules and is conducted under fair and equal (as humanly possible) conditions. Secondly, they are there to maintain the integrity of the game. Thirdly, and not of any lesser importance, is to ensure the best possible safety conditions for players and coaches. And fourth, game officials operate with preventive maintenance, working with (not against) players and coaches. In the opinion here, none of the above can be effectively done via video replay. Trust of the human element is essential.

Game officials don’t create the rules but (and in the most trying conditions of time and movement) ensure that all of the above are held to the highest standard. It has been my privilege to be associated with sports officials for over six decades; thousands of men and women officiate because they love the game. They have no interest in who wins or loses, only that is conducted within the rules. Trusting their judgment and their integrity is vital in sports.
Will you observe game officials with that in mind?

To contact Jim, go to or email

“Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” has many examples of integrity in sports! Available for $20. at the email above and includes tax, shipping, and autograph, if requested. Thank You!

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