NFL Blunder Points to USATF Shortcomings

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Commentary

A hot topic right now is the blown call in the Lions-Cowboys game may well have cost the Lions the game. Something else that came to light was the fact that the NFL’s head of officiating was spotted hanging out on the Cowboys team bus days earlier.

An interesting line in a recent Deadspin article jumped off the screen:

No one outright accused anyone of bad faith, just the idea of it is enough.

Wait, so sports leagues and associations don’t like that sort of thing? Why does USATF seem to not mind it at all then? What author Sean Newell says makes perfect sense, and some of the quotes provided from anonymous league executives point to that very outrage.

The fact that the NFL has the wherewithal to realize that and USATF doesn’t makes it very infuriating to be a dues-paying member. This was brought up in a piece we published not too long ago, and although it’s missing the element of the outside sponsor possibly interfering, it does touch on impropriety to some degree and that’s the larger point.

It might be a dead horse by now, but let’s revisit some incident from February and kick it a little more…

Andy Bumbalough was DQ’d for no reason at Indoor Nationals and wasn’t even made aware of it until it was too late to appeal. It appeared at the time that Salazar was exerting his influence on the judges to get a rival athlete out of the results. The USATF responded by basically ignoring it until December when they reversed the disqualification. Although that was the ideal outcome, they apparently broke their own rules in doing so. In waiting so long it also made it look like they were hoping people would forget about it so they could act on it under the radar.

Then there was the whole Hasay/Salazar/Grunewald fiasco, in which USATF once again did nothing. They were only bailed out when Hasay stepped up and withdrew her protest (basically withdrawing from Team USA) so Grunewald could be rightfully reinstated and USATF could save face. A huge issue at the time was the appearance of Salazar and Nike pressuring USATF officials into making a call in favor of a Nike athlete. Even if it was just the appearance of unscrupulous behavior, it was too much. It was a black eye for the sport.

Yeah, as of publishing this, it doesn’t appear that the NFL has come out and said anything publicly about the incident, but even the statements made in private speaking out against it are more than anything the USATF did back in February…or even since.

With each passing incident, the chorus of frantic outrage only grows stronger. But if nothing changes, maybe we need to keep kicking that dead horse. Keep kicking it until there’s glue on your running shoes.

Note: We have nothing against horses. Sea Biscuit and Mr. Ed were both great citizens.

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