Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update on Tackling Ref via Deadspin gives us this update:

The umpire in question is Wilbur Hackett Jr. and even though every sane observer says it looked intentional when he stepped up, dropped his shoulder, and laid out the scrambling quarterback, the folks in charge (including USC coach Steve Spurrier) say it's no big whoop.
But the SEC office believes Hackett was protecting himself and plans to take no disciplinary action on the veteran official. Rogers Redding, the conference's coordinator of football officials, reviewed the tape of the play and thought it was inadvertent contact.
"Garcia changes his direction just a tad, which ties up the umpire just a tad and makes it look a lot worse than it really was," SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said.
So just a harmless "inadvertent" collision, right? Until you learn that Hackett just so happens to be a former Parade High School All-American and a three-year starter at linebacker for Kentucky in the late '60s. So unless Hackett had some sort of acid flashback to his playing days (or the patrons of a rogue BW-3 franchise called in a hit on Gracia so they could keep eating mini-corn dogs), I still say something fishy is going here. Maybe Garcia said something foul about Zinedene Zidane's sister?

Espn adds this:
When contacted by ESPN's Joe Schad, the Southeastern Conference office said after reviewing the play, it believes the umpire was in appropriate position. A spokesman said the umpire raised his arm to defend himself after a change of direction by the runner.

I just watched that video again, and there's no way that was an accident. Definitely a flashback to the linebacker days. This guy misses playing that's for sure... looks like he's got the right job though to keep him happy.

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