There are many unwritten rules in sports that never get discussed in any official capacity.
This is done to maintain the integrity of the game.
But a referee was just fired for exposing one shocking truth about sports.
NHL referee Tim Peel saw his long career come to an end when he got caught on a hot mic admitting one truth all sports fans knew existed: Peel let it out of the bag that officials use makeup calls to even out the game.
The broadcast microphones for a Nashville Predators game caught Peel saying, “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a (expletive) penalty against Nashville early in the…” before the audio cut out.
The NHL responded swiftly and fired Peel in advance of his upcoming retirement.
The league released a statement confirming that Peel will “no longer will be working NHL games now or in the future.”
Peel’s cavalier discussion of looking for a make-up call suggests that the practice is widespread not just around the NHL, but other sports leagues, too.
And Peel was considered among the top tier of officials in the sport.
“Peel made his NHL debut in 1999 and has officiated nearly 1,400 regular-season games. That level of experience made him a ‘senior-level official’ in the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Officials Association.”
Colin Campbell, NHL vice president of hockey operations, said that “nothing is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game” and that Peel’s conduct “is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand from our officials and that of our fans, players, coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve.”
Veteran players and coaches have noticed that referees sometimes put their thumb on the scales to perhaps even out a game.
Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who played 21 seasons in the NHL, said:
“Watch what happens at the end of games…It seems to always get a power play, the team that’s behind. I think it’s just human nature. It’s hard. I know they’re not trying to do that. I don’t believe that that’s how they go about it. It’s just human nature to maybe look for the team that’s down, but it seems to happen all the time.”
Dubious refereeing is not unique to the NHL.
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy went to prison for betting on games and allegedly fixing the outcomes of games.
Former NBA commissioner David Stern balked at Donaghy’s contention, but Stern and the NBA have long been accused of shenanigans revolving around officiating and draft lottery selections.
The NFL, too, has dealt with criticism of porous officiating that has turned off many fans and led to rule changes that only exacerbated the problem.
The NHL just gave oxygen to fans’ zany conspiracy theories about officiating.
Fans who swear their favorite team was cheated now have some evidence to point to.