November 17, 2009


About ten thousand times during the last Maryland basketball game, Comcast SportsNet played a commercial about sportsmanship sponsored by the “Foundation for a Better Life.”

You can watch the video above, but the gist of it is that a basketball player tips a ball as it goes out of bounds, but the ref doesn’t see it.  During the time out, the player tells his coach that he tipped the ball and then goes to tell the referee.  The tag line is “Sportsmanship - Pass It On.”

Is that not the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?  Are you not appalled that some stupid ethical foundation would suggest such a thing?  Would you not punch your teammate in the face for merely suggesting such an idea?

Here’s the thing: the rules of basketball are founded on the idea that referees call the game how they see it.  Players have no role in calling the game.  I don’t even think an official would reverse a call in the example shown above.  It’s just ridiculous to suggest that players should make calls against themselves in a game with referees. 

Someone who would tell a referee that he tipped the ball would also probably do a lot of other stupid things:

  1. Turn himself into the police for speeding
  2. Tell his girlfriend whenever he has lewd thoughts about another woman
  3. Submit an amended tax return because he forgot to claim the $10 check his grandmother sent for his birthday as income
  4. Diligently repay all money taken from the “Take a Penny” dish

This “Foundation for a Better Life” is apparently a group that creates ads for behavioral values it wants to see advanced.  It is entirely funded by some oil tycoon’s kid - I was shocked to find out that there was no oddball religious backing.  Most of the ads are pointless and silly, but not actively stupid like the sportsmanship one.

Good sportsmanship is losing gracefully, not trying to make sure that no bad calls go in your favor.

2 Responses:

gpb said...

All this video tells me is that it's a fast track way to not start or play another game for the team. That level of sportsmanship matters only when you self officiate. If players are required to tell the refs about a bad call, then the refs should be required to video review every call as well. Hey, we gotta do the right thing...

What I think is more pathetic is that such an organization needs to exist in the first place. The values they want to promote should have been taught to kids through their parents already.

Now we're seeing the consequences through needing such services as fan assistance because people don't care how they act or just assume they can do as they please. Maybe I'm just grumpy about the obnoxious, drunk frat kids in front of us.

Killa Kev said...

Is it not ironic that the message of the commercial is to have some honesty and integrity for yourself in all things that you do, and the complaint here is that honesty and integrity should only be enforced by the referees.

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