Many NRL figures are calling for black and white rulings and instant charges for any player who makes contact with a Referee.
Have we gone mad!!!!!!
Watching the Brisbane V Cowboys game on Friday night and the issue raised its head again. Lachlan Maranta ran to the line for a quick tap and in doing so made contact with the Referee. For the past several weeks there have been numerous instances such as Keiran Foran placing a hand on the back of a match official and Trent Merrin touching the hip of a match official.
Before the NRL goes and makes brisk uninformed decisions, has anyone thought to ask the victims (the Referees) what they are comfortable with? Everyone is making assumptions for their safety and well being without even consulting the very people they aim to protect. Consider the case of David Klemmer, the Referee that was touched actually became a witness and aided in getting Klemmer off.
Really there is only one question we need to answer.
If Jonathon Thurston, Sam Burgess, Cameron Smith or Keiran Foran pat a referee on the back in a Semi Final would we be prepared to prevent them from playing the Grand Final? The likely scenario will see their case thrown out, with some political jargon thrown around of how that case was different to all the rest throughout the year. In my opinion these double standards are more damaging to the credibility of our game than what could be considered an act of mateship by players.
I see the point of aiming to remove Referee contact from the game and I will support that, but by no means should we have players suspended for such incidents. Any intent to harm or intimidate a Referee should be an instant suspension, it has no place in the game at any level and we should apply “zero tolerance”. However for minor incidents such as accidental contact, or a pat on the back the smart solution is a fine. Fine the players use the money to grow the game and keep the players on the field.