Anyone who has competed in sports has known at one time or another what it feels like to get robbed by a referee or an official. It stinks—but it happens.
I also have had the unfortunate experience of knowing what it’s like to watch a teammate lying motionless on the ground paralyzed. It’s a sickening feeling and far more serious than botched officiating.
That’s why I thought it was especially classless for Philadelphia Eagles defenders to jump up and down screaming at officials over an unnecessary roughness call they disagreed with as Indianapolis Colts receiver Austin Collie lay motionless on the ground in Sunday’s game.
For those who participate in or watch sports on a regular basis, the look of a paralyzed or unconscious person is unmistakable. Did you see Collie’s arms and hands immediately after the hit? Most people could tell that Collie didn’t just get his bell rung.
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said Eagles players on the sideline were cheering the hit as Collie lay on the ground. I couldn’t see that, but what I could see from Eagles players on the field was enough to make my stomach turn.
I once had the pleasure of meeting Collie, a Brigham Young University graduate, at a Colts function. Based on my short meeting with him I’m pretty sure he’d be the last person to complain about a call while the health of another player was in doubt. That made Sunday’s display by Eagles’ players all the more sickening.
Luckily, Collie wasn’t paralyzed and the injuries aren’t life threatening, but at the time it was clear he was seriously hurt. And we still don’t know the long-term ramifications of the serious concussion he sustained.
Eagles players could see the seriousness of the situation. But their only concern was a 15-yard penalty. I agree the unnecessary roughness call was questionable. But the lack of sportsmanship several Eagles players displayed immediately after watching the replay on the jumbotron was a much bigger infraction.
Worthy of an on-field penalty? Probably not. Worthy of fans’ scorn? Well, I’ll let you decide that.
A black eye for the National Football League and the Eagles? Absolutely.