Referees are the single most hated people in sports. No matter what they do, no one is happy with their performance, and the best thing anyone can say is that they helped their team win.
But why such hatred for the men and women who are just trying to keep our beloved sports fair and safe? Referees are incredibly important to sports, especially at the collegiate and professional levels. Without them, rules would be broken, and games would be horrible to watch.
Without referees, fights and arguments would happen constantly. They are single-handedly the reason for sportsmanship. When it comes down to winning and losing, athletes would do anything if it weren’t for referees.
Referees also do their thankless job for almost no monetary gain. Unless you are a referee for the NFL, NHL, MLB, etc., you barely make enough money to live on. Nowadays MLB and NFL refs make $120,000 right off the bat, but it takes them decades of being refs to get there.
Every MLB umpire has to have at least eight years of experience in the minor leagues before applying. The most an umpire can make in the minor leagues is about $3,000 a month; over a nine month season. That’s only about $27,000, often without travel and gear expenses covered. The bottom line is, it doesn’t pay to be a referee.
Like I mentioned before, they are also the most hated people in sports. Who would want to be a referee when all you get is booed and yelled at while doing your job? It doesn’t matter which side they call against because there will always be the other team to be mad at them.
And in very rare and extreme cases, refs can be killed for making bad calls. Just a few weeks ago, an Argentinian soccer referee was shot and killed after he served a red card to a player. The player that he red carded then retrieved a handgun from his bag and came back onto the field and killed the referee. Oh yeah, this was an amateur league. This was not a professional league where players and teams make millions of dollars off of one game. It was an amateur soccer match. The murdered referee was also a volunteer.
So when players decide that it is ok to scream and yell into a referee or an umpire’s face, maybe they should think about the hard work and sacrifices referees make to help the athletes play the games they love.