Duping officials nothing new


LITTLE ROCK — Come on, public outrage over deception in sports. Really? What cave do the offended inhabit and how long have they lived there?

Subterfuge, out and out fraud, and flaunting the rules are part of the games we adore. All Yankee outfielder Dewayne Wise did was keep his mouth shut when third-base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled that Wise made an inning-ending catch as he tumbled over a railing and into the crowd.

For failing to contradict the man in charge, Wise was roasted by some who saw the replay of him going into the stands and a nearby fan holding the baseball aloft shortly before DiMuro called out Cleveland’s Jack Hannahan. They contended that Wise is a role model and should have told the ump that he did not catch the ball.

“What was I supposed to do, run back to left field?” Wise said. “I saw him looking at my glove so I just got up, put my head down and ran off the field.” Every player in baseball would have done the same thing and Wise’s tacit cooperation in a mistake in judgment pales when measured against the chicanery that is encouraged in sport because of the emphasis on winning.

How many times does the Yankees’ Derek Jeter and every other MLB shortstop swipe at second base and miss as the pivot man on a 4-6-3 double-play?

How many times does St. Louis’ Yadier Molina, maybe the best catcher in baseball, try to dupe the home plate umpire by framing a Lance Lynn fastball that misses the black by an inch. During the College World Series, former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser went so far as to say he didn’t want his catcher moving his glove because the umpire might interpret that as meaning the pitch was out of the strike zone.

Does LeBron James ever decline a trip to the free throw line and tell the ref, “All ball,” after that official has nailed Chicago’s Joakim Noah for fouling James on a driving lay-up?

Does Kevin Garnett hand the ball to the ref with “Off me,” reversing the official’s call that gave Garnett’s Celtics possession on a bang-bang play on the baseline?

In fact, the best officiated basketball games might be the ones on the playground where the guilty accept the blame and the player who was abused gets possession on the sideline. No matter the truth, from junior high through the NBA, those involved in such plays in organized games always point toward their goal.

Next time New England tight end Rob Gronkowski grabs a one-hopper from quarterback Tom Brady, he will not give the incomplete sign and hand the ball to the official. On such throws, receivers learn to enforce the catch by immediately holding the ball aloft. Along that line, how would J.J Meadors fare on a polygraph test about grabbing Barry Lunney Jr.’s low throw into the end zone vs. Alabama for 20-19 in 1995?

Never will the Jets’ Darrelle Revis admit to clutching cloth when Miami’s newly acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall is unable to get to a deep throw from new Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

If an official is blind to Jason Peacock’s WWE-worthy takedown of Sam Montgomery when the LSU defensive end has a dead bead on quarterback Tyler Wilson, the Arkansas tackle will not volunteer a confession.

If Roger Federer has a chance to win his first grand slam event since 2010 this weekend at the All-England club and his opponent has exhausted his challenges, the Swiss player will not overrule a bad call on a forehand down the line.

This is not an indictment of the aforementioned athletes, only a reminder that, like it or not, winning comes first.

Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is hking@arkansasnews.com.