Don't penalize passion

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Were you ever young? Ever get excited about anything? Did you ever play the game? Or any other sport? Ever?

That's what we'd ask the officials from last Saturday's Georgia-Louisiana State University football game, in which a Georgia player was penalized for getting excited.

That's not an exaggeration. Even the Southeastern Conference would tell you that, after watching video of the incident.

"The video that we looked at does not support the call that was made on the field," Rogers Redding, SEC officials coordinator admitted this week in saying the penalty should never have been assessed.

A.J. Green, who'd scored a go-ahead touchdown with just 1:09 left in the game, was penalized for what they call "excessive celebration."

That's completely subjective, of course. But normally, "excessive celebration" would entail rehearsed theatrics, taunting gestures, chest-pounding and other exaggerated expressions of arrogance, superiority or narcissism.

Sadly, the sports culture has made it necessary to watch such things closely, as players over the years have far exceeded the bounds of good sportsmanship and even youthful jubilation in their self-aggrandizing antics. That's fine, and we support cracking down on it.

But none of that -- absolutely zip -- was present when A.J. Green joyously and innocently celebrated with his teammates one of the great moments in his young life.

That's when some overbearing, never-scored-a-touchdown-myself wet blanket had to spoil the moment with a penalty flag for no good reason.

And, oh by the way, some believe it cost Georgia the game, as the penalty required the Bulldogs to then kick off to LSU from their own 15 yard line, a huge handicap. It helped set up LSU for the winning score.

Is there a penalty for "excessive, stick-in-the-mud monitoring of excitement by college football players"? We hope so; for now, the conference isn't saying.

If you can penalize a college-aged kid and his teammates for doing nothing more than being happy, shouldn't an adult face some sort of punishment for a stupid mistake that changes the outcome of a game?

Most importantly, it's essential that every college conference, and maybe the pros, tell their referees to back off and let players show some passion. Otherwise, they'll take the life out of the game.

This isn't a chess match!

Comments (10) Add comment
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Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/07/09 - 01:14 am
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They would probably penalize

They would probably penalize them if they tried to be real quiet and subdued after a TD for not acting normal.

WhippingPost
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WhippingPost 10/07/09 - 05:51 am
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This is a lousy part of the

This is a lousy part of the game, but still part of the game. It wasn't the only factor in the loss. There were 58 minutes of mediocre play preceding the lousy call.

southernguy08
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southernguy08 10/07/09 - 06:34 am
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Where's the post from JUSTUS
Unpublished

Where's the post from JUSTUS ranting about the coverage on the "non-minority" media?

55 F-100
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55 F-100 10/07/09 - 06:49 am
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Coaches today should have

Coaches today should have their teams adhere to the "Bear" Bryant standard: The player who scores the touchdown should proceed to the nearest official, hand over the football, and "act like he's been there before." A. J. Green did nothing wrong in the endzone, and should not have been flagged, but the players should do their celebrating with their terams on the sideline. Current players should adhere to the Herschel Walker standard---hand the ball to the official, go to his team's sideline, and get ready to do it all over again. The players nowadays need to stuff their hair up into their helmets, cover up those ridiculous "tats" and play ball like they have good sense.

xanadu
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xanadu 10/07/09 - 07:03 am
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i know next to nothing about

i know next to nothing about football, but gee golly whiz, you can't even get happy about making a TD anymore without getting penalized? sounds a little over-the-top to me, but i tend to think it might be like the editorial stated: someone with a case of the azz was determined to rain on someone's parade that day. well, it may be sad for GA fans to deal with, but just think, those poor suckers living in the land of dismay (that would be Louisiana) need something to get excited about these days since their economy and state is crapped out, so let them gloat over their silly little football victory. they had to go back to LA, you get to stay here.

orgpsych
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orgpsych 10/07/09 - 07:15 am
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An offficial made an

An offficial made an unpopular but technically correct call during a sporting event. This is worthy of an editorial? Must be a slow news day around here. I believe that, if you check any rule book for any sport, you will find a phrase along the line of "in the opinion of the official." Nowhere does it say anything about "in the opinin of the players, coach, fans, parents, editorial writer, etc." You may disagree with the call and be really upset because your team didn't win. Is this worth wasting this much time, ink, energy, etc.? Is it really a justification for showing a lack of character by making personal attacks on the official who made the call? Shame on Mr. Redding for publicly under-cutting a fellow official. Wonder why you can't get better officials? Pick your head up, turn off the TV, and get a life.

justus4
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justus4 10/07/09 - 07:29 am
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There is more to this error
Unpublished

There is more to this error but not being reported. This is what happen everyday in this country and this example of a "bad call" can serve a purpose, other than to add to Ga's losses. NO ONE even considered the official being corrupt. It is not mentioned ANYWHERE! WHY? How could a professional official make such a horrible call? Unless his mind was clouded with something else, it just don't happen. This guy should be investigated, if he is not, the SEC will begin to lose support. He made a bad call, but the SEC leadership needs to make the right call to terminate & investigate. It's in their interest.

Michael Ryan
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Michael Ryan 10/07/09 - 07:54 am
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orqpsych, it was not a

orqpsych, it was not a correct call. The conference said that. As for the topic, not everything has to be politics!

3M3T1B
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3M3T1B 10/07/09 - 08:15 am
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If the situation was reversed

If the situation was reversed we wouldn't be reading this letter.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/07/09 - 09:03 am
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Of course Mike Ryan is right

Of course Mike Ryan is right here. It's odd some find fault every time there is an editorial that isn't about politics. Everyday, nonpolitical events help us understand the human condition. We see situations that are not always harmonious, but illuminating the character of man from ancient Greece to the Grovetown City Council. If we want to stop players from showing emotion, we need a trap door to open and swallow up any offensive (in both definitions of the word) player who makes it into the endzone. Watching the replays the official was bumped by the players surrounding AJ Green and that's when he threw the flag. Unreal.

Native007
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Native007 10/07/09 - 10:06 am
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Justus is a conspiracy

Justus is a conspiracy theorist.

peachy1230
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peachy1230 10/07/09 - 11:56 am
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The ref also penalized LSU

The ref also penalized LSU for the exact same thing so it's even. LSU outplayed the Bulldogs the whole game so they probably would have scored a touchdown anyway. They would have at least scored a field goal even without the call so they would have won anyway. Bad calls are made in sports every day. Deal with it ,Dawgs.LSU got a bad call too. It all comes out in the wash.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/07/09 - 12:08 pm
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Ah, the call against LSU was

Ah, the call against LSU was a make-up call when it didn't affect the game one iota.

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