The Bill Leavy apology kerfuffle

Part Three of “Stuff I wanted to blog about this summer, but didn’t because this blog was in transition.”

I defended Bill Leavy and his crew.  Passionately.

Other referees have defended him as well.

Still, Bill Leavy apologized to the Seahawks last week for what he felt were two rough fourth-quarter calls.  One of them was an illegal block call against Matt Hasselbeck that everyone knew was wrong from the get go.  I recall Leavy admitting he missed that one a few years ago in Referee Magazine.

The second one, I suppose, was the holding call, which, when you watch the play at full speed, was borderline.

Anyway, these calls have clearly been bugging Leavy for years, and he needed to talk about them.  Fine by me.

On his blog, Mike Pereira had a post (since removed) indicating that Leavy was too hard on himself.  I tend to agree.

But what bothers me most is the logically fallacious conclusion that Seahawks fans have reached…that Pereira’s apology reaches to ALL of the calls they don’t like in the game, and that they’ve been vindicated.


Darrell Jackson still pushed off, and the pushoff created an advantage that resulted in a touchdown–therefore,the play had to be called.  Leavy didn’t apologize for that.  Ben Roethlisberger’s TD call was still so bloody close that either call would have been fine by me and not overturnable.

If either (or both) of these calls had gone against Pittsburgh, it would be they, and not Seattle, insisting they were robbed.

I’m fine with Leavy apologizing.  I’ve done it once.  I felt bad about how a technical in this game went down.  I didn’t get a good look at a player-control foul call that caused the coach to come unglued, and because of the way the switch worked out on the court, I didn’t get a chance to talk to the coach until he’d been whacked by one of my partners.  I saw him in the stands before the next game of his team that I worked, sat next to him, and said I felt bad about how it all worked out.  He said it was all fine, remarking that his team lost by 40 and that we refs get a lot more right than wrong.

But Seahawks fans are concluding that Leavy’s apology is proof that the whole game was screwed up.  That’s flat-out not true.  It’s all on videotape.


About Paul Hamann
I am a basketball referee in Washington State, working mostly high school games.

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