Monday, February 4, 2013

Language not rock-kicking led to ejection

According to the official who tossed Chris Schille from a game at the Saskatchewan men's playdowns, kicking a rock into a corner had nothing to do with his ejection.

As Kevin Mitchell reports in the StarPhoenix, it was all about bad language.

But [Deanna[ Rindal, an SCA official for more than 25 years, says she never saw Schille kick a rock and that had nothing to do with his removal. The second-end ejection, she says, was because she heard him using obscene language just a few feet from where she stood, moments after teammate DJ Kidby banged his broom.
“These games are being broadcast, we’re getting emails about the foul language and why isn’t something getting done, I was sick and tired of taking the brunt for their actions, and the officials getting blamed for it,” Rindal said. “So I said ‘Schille, you’re gone. Leave the arena.’ He asked what for, and I said for swearing. He said ‘all I said was damn it under my breath’, and I said ‘no, I have ears. I can hear.’ Then (third) Braeden Moskowy came in and was begging for another warning — ‘It’s the B final, it’s the B final! Can’t we get a warning?’ I said you had warnings all week long. No more warnings. I took out my stopwatch and said you have 15 seconds to leave before you forfeit the game."
Schille told Mitchel that he was aware all the curlers were being watched due to previous incidents during the playdown process.

“We knew everyone was on thin ice, based on what happened at southerns and northerns,” Schille said. “We were warned before the event, and they came up and told us a few times, lower your voice or don’t bang your broom as hard. I guess that time, she’d just had enough. I swore under my breath and kicked a rock into the corner, and when I came off she said to keep walking. We tried to reason with her, and all she did was say 15 seconds, you forfeit the game. 
“There was pressure on them; I know that for a fact. There was a lot of unhappy sponsors and lot of unhappy fans at southerns and northerns, and we knew that coming in. It’s tough. It’s not football and it’s not NHL hockey, but we’re here to win. Emotions are going to run high, especially when you’re playing for the biggest prize.”

The officials were certainly in a tough situation but this quote from Rindal makes me wonder somewhat.

“I did my job. I did what I needed to do. From what I’m hearing, I’ve got the support of many, many, many people out there, that it should have been done earlier. And I totally agree — it should have been done earlier, and it’s too bad it was the B final. But I took a stand for the officials. We’re being put to blame for the actions of the athletes out there.”
I have no problem with the her tossing Schille in the B final. But "took a stand for the officials?" and "We're being put to blame for the actions of the athletes out there." I don't get that. It's as if the reason she ejected the curler was as an act of solidarity for the officials, not because he was swearing. I also fail to see how an official would get blamed for a curler swearing. And just who is blaming them? Fans? Sponsors? I doubt it.

Every curler has a duty to act decently when on the ice. They're performers and one of the great things about the game is that fans can get close to the action. When microphones were put on the players back in the '80s, that extended to television audiences. There have been many four-letter words aired on curling broadcasts -- shit-balls comes to mind -- but the difficulty becomes in the subjectivity of the crime as well as the penalty. Does a mutter expletive under the breath warrant expulsion in an important game? And why did the official choose this moment to issue the penalty?

There are no easy answers to this one.

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