Zip the Lip
By Michael Eaves
FOX Sports West & PRIME TICKET
February 1st, 2010
Technical fouls for criticizing officials are about as common in college basketball as alley-oop dunks. They happen all the time.
However, they are only supposed to be handed out to coaches, although players are often guilty of loose lips as well. But under no circumstances whatsoever, should a student manager receive a technical foul for criticizing or yelling obscenities at referees. I guess it's a little too late to tell that to USC graduate student Stan Holt, who not only got hit with a tech in the Trojans' loss at Oregon, but may have cost USC a victory.
Trojans coach Kevin O'Neill, who can curse out an official as well as anyone, took the necessary immediate action by firing Holt after the game.
"The referee told me he was screaming obscenities at him," O'Neill said. "That's on me and that will be rectified. It already has been. He's gone. If somebody's getting a technical foul, it's going to be me."
I applaud O'Neill for wasting no time in doing the right thing. Albeit, coaches are still given a little slack on the decorum tip, the behavior of fans at sporting events has been getting worse and worse the last several years. And I believe that's exactly what Holt was being when he called out the officials during the game. He was a fan, who thought his favorite team was not getting a fair shake and blamed the officials for it. He was likely doing nothing different than he had done in years past prior to him becoming a student manager. He was likely just duplicating the behavior he had seen from anyone from members of his family, best friends, or other fellow fans at various events through the years. I see it all the time and it never ceases to amaze me just how vile, harsh and unrelenting some fans can be.
The excuse--seemingly forever--has been that it's just a small portion of the fan base who act that way and it's not a reflection of fans as a whole. However, that's simply not true. It's a much larger portion than people want to believe, and it is a reflection on all of the fans. If 10-15 out of 8,000 fans are cursing the referees or even the opposing team, when people talk about what was said by these few fans, they won't say "these 10-15 USC fans were dropping f-bombs all over the place." Instead, it would go more like this: "The USC fans were dropping f-bombs all over the place."
So again, it is a reflection of an entire fan base, especially if the majority of that fan base allows a few fans to behave like that without calling them on their behavior. Fans need to check fans. If not, Stan Holt won't just be a rarity, he could become the norm.