Tampa Bay Buccaneer right tackle Jeremy Trueblood was whistled for a 15-yard penalty after a run-in with Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway on Sunday. There’s not a lot noteworthy in that. But what was interesting was the exchange the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES said Trueblood had with an unnamed official after the play:
“They hadn’t blown the whistle yet, and they were stripping the ball away from (Warrick Dunn),” Trueblood said. “So, I go knock the guy down. I asked the (official), ‘How do I know that if the ball flies out, you’re not going to call a fumble because there was no whistle.’ He looked at me and said, ‘I know I was a little late on the whistle. I’m working on it.’ I told him, ‘I hope you know you just killed our drive.’ He told me to, ‘Shut the (expletive) up.’ Are (officials) allowed to talk to players like that?”
Trueblood is right: NFL officials should know that players are extremely sensitive people, whose feelings get hurt very easily and who are absolutely appalled at the use of any obscene language. Anyone who has been inside an NFL locker room knows this to be true. Clearly, whomever this official is should be hauled into the Commissioner’s office and have his mouth washed out with soap.
My first thought when reading this story was: if I was an NFL referee, I doubt I’d have the nerve to get a 300 lb. lineman to shut up, especially using such colorful language. Clearly there is only one referee with the ego and bulk to dare say something like that. But then I did some research and found out that Ed Hochuli was working the Raiders vs. Dolphins game, so there went that.
So whomever this Sam Kinison of the NFL referee set is, they clearly have a big set. My favorite part of the story is his initial response to Trueblood that he’s “working on it” after admitting he had a late whistle. How exactly do you “work” on that? I picture a lot of time spent blowing the whistle around the house for infractions like trying to leave the dinner table early or watching TV before finishing homework, all while his wife quietly cries inside and wonders why she didn’t marry that nice optometrist.