The controversy surrounding the delay of game call against Canada, leading to the USA Women’s victory, is like a Caribbean hurricane; if you have the right interest, it’s huge, if not, it’s nothing. However, for me, it is a big deal, because the reactions coming out are really annoying me. I have heard some soccer analysts saying that it shouldn’t have been called, even though according to reports (admittedly I missed the game), the Canadian goalie was guilty of the foul.
Remember the 2009 US Open? When Serena Williams lost a match after throwing a temper tantrum after being called for a foot fault? John McEnroe, who I have enormous respect for as a tennis player and commentator, said that they should not be calling foot faults at championship caliber competition, similar to the analysts saying that the goalie’s delay of game shouldn’t have been called because “it’s never called.”
Let’s get a few things straight. Firstly, in either case, no one is disputing that the guilty parties (the Canadian goalie and S. Williams, respectively) were actually guilty of what they were penalized for. Secondly, no analyst is criticizing them for being guilty of their respective fouls. Finally, no one is attacking the rule book, preferring to attack the officials and the calls.
I understand that some calls are rarely called, largely because referees don’t like making them. However, if the penalties are still on the books, then they can still legally make them, and in appropriate cases, should make them. I get that some players, coaches, commentators, and analysts may not like it, but facts are facts.
Let’s say that there was some ludicrous rule in the NFL that a player cannot legally slap his teammate’s back, even after his teammate makes a brilliant play. Given that the NFL is a 24/7/365 sport, we would attack the rule, rather than the official. Even if it was never called, though, an official wouldn’t be wrong to call it.
I understand that some people, call them elitist or purists, don’t like officials making calls off of rules they don’t see very often. However, it doesn’t matter what team or player it is, where the competition is, or what level the competition is, rules are rules, and fouls are fouls. You don’t like the ref calling the delay of game on the Canadian goal keeper, don’t attack the official, who was merely doing their job. Attack the rule: say it is unnecessary, or needs to be amended. You don’t have to commend the official for doing their job, but at a minimum, leave the call alone. If it’s in the rules, and it’s legal, argue the rule is out of place, not the call.