Controversy has always dogged the steps of professional sports, but it has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues this year — and especially this week. Here is a round-up of four recent, potentially game-changing calls that caused a commotion.
1. Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Lakers
Contention this week kicked off — not on the grid iron, but on the basketball court with Brooklyn Nets coach, Jason Kidd. In a game on November 27, there were 8.3 seconds remained on the clock, and the Nets trailed the Lakers with no time outs remaining. Luckily, Jason Kidd happened to be holding a glass of soda that conveniently spilled on the floor, after Kidd was bumped by Nets player Tyshawn Taylor. As the clean-up crew cleared the floor, Laker Jodie Meeks took his free throw shots, and the Nets huddled for a crucial session to formulate one last play. In the final play, Paul Pierce’s 3-point shot missed, and the Nets lost.
“Cup slipped out of my hand while I was getting Ty,” Kidd explained. ESPN also printed Taylor’s reaction, and he says it wasn’t intentional. “I wasn’t paying attention. I just kind of bumped him,” Taylor said, ”coach was drinking a soda on the sideline. I was like, ‘What’s he doing?’” Their denials didn’t sway the public. On Twitter, even Rob Lowe got in on the action.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) November 28, 2013
Most damaging to Kidd’s denial is that you can clearly see his mouth forming the words “hit me” in the instant replays, which led to his fine of $50,ooo, issued November 28 by the NBA. The news came after most people in the country spent the day gobbling up turkey. Happy Thanksgiving, Jason Kidd.
2. Thanksgiving Day, Steelers vs Ravens
Speaking of Thanksgiving, the final NFL game of the day had controversy of its own. The moment came during the third quarter of the Steelers-Ravens game. The Steelers were behind, 7 to 13, and Jacoby Jones was returning a kick when he had to change direction to avoid Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was standing on the field near the sidelines.
Cris Collinsworth, an announcer for NBC would go on to comment that Tomlin could be flagged for sideline interference, and Jones and the Ravens could have added a touchdown to the score. After the game ESPN reports that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco called Tomlin out. “He was looking at the big screen the whole entire time, he knew where he was, he knew where Jacoby was,” Flacco said. Tomlin spoke out after the game too, saying “I was wrong, I accept responsibility for it.”
The NFL had decided to review the incident, and Adam Schefter, ESPN‘s NFL Insider, believes a fine is likely. Earlier in the NFL season, a game between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots caused a stir.
3. Monday Night Football: New England Patriots vs Carolina Panthers
In the final minutes of this Monday Night Football meeting, the Patriots were down, 20 to 24. On the final play of the game, Brady attempted to send a game-winning touchdown to Rob Gronkowski. But Carolina Panther Luke Keuchly obstructed Gronkowski, causing a referee to throw a flag for pass interference.
The referees consulted, and decided to pick up the flag, and not penalize Carolina, ending the game. Had they decided otherwise, the Patriots would have had the ball on the 1-yard line with no time remaining. The late, game-deciding call unleashed a torrent of curse words from Tom Brady’s lips.
Afterwards, Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, took to the NFL Network to discuss the call. “They used proper mechanics. They got together after the play to determine that, in their judgment, that the contact occurred simultaneous with the ball being intercepted,” USA Today reports Blandino said.
4. World Series, Red Sox vs Cardinals, Game Three
Also contested for its game-winning implications, a call in the third game of this year’s World Series. In Game 3, St. Louis Cardinal Allen Craig scored on the basis of obstruction. The call brought a 5-4 victory to the the Cardinals in a series that ultimately went to Boston. That Boston won overall hardly tempers the ruckus over the call.
Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” The umpire based his call on an encounter between Craig and Boston’s third baseman, Will Middlebrooks. The ball intended for Middlebrooks to tag Craig out missed its mark, and Middlebrooks and Craig then became embroiled to the point where the official said Middlebrooks was impeding Craig’s progress.
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