Are The Referees At Fault?

During a recent NFC championship game, one call (or lack thereof) had potential to single-handedly determine the outcome of the game. Unfortunately for the New Orleans Saints fans, there was no call on what was described by some as blatant defensive pass interference or unnecessary roughness.

Calls by referees on the field of play have been disputed by fans for what seems to be the history of mainstream sport. Smith recognizes that fans of teams are able to have emotional feelings towards the game, which would also include disappointment or anger following what they perceive to be an absurd call. Saints fans definitely felt the latter after that particular game, and replied to the NFL with a class action lawsuit at an attempt to have the game rescheduled. Although it was quickly pushed aside by a judge, professional sports leagues are no stranger to lawsuits from fans. Some past lawsuits have been regarding fan safety, ticket sales, or television rights.

Smith recognizes that sport is dominated by males of middle to upper class socioeconomic status. Sport has been seen to provide some with strong feelings of empowerment and increases in social status and power. Indeed, men of middle to upper class are the ones pursing these feelings associated with sport. Perhaps the act of carrying out a lawsuit against such a powerful organization like the NFL could potentially also contribute towards feelings of empowerment, especially if the lawsuit was successful in having the game replayed and potentially alter the outcome of the game. Thus, we must consider the potential societal repercussions such a change of events may cause.


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