Nick Wright Broke a Cardinal Rule…

Two Basketball Referees

Let me preface this rant with a couple of facts…

  • I’m not very intelligent on a multitude of subjects – most of them are sports related. I’m not one for facts, statistics, historical numbers or what not. I’m simply a fan of sports.
  • I am extremely knowledgeable about one thing – officiating.
    • I have been an amateur, High School and Collegiate baseball umpire for 25 years. I have also trained, scheduled and managed youth umpires for 15 years.
    • I was a professional umpire candidate for two years, umpiring several minor league games in the early 1990’s.
    • I have worked thousands of youth sporting events.

So, most of the time on this blog, my opinion is simply that, my opinion.  Opinions can never be wrong, but they can certainly be discounted as ill-informed or uneducated.  Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.

There are very few topics where I can be considered an “educated expert” and dammit, I’ve finally found one.

The shit of it is, this take is about to slam on a person who I’ve started to like.

Here’s the story… on Tuesday’s “What’s Right with Nick Wright” radio show on 610 Sports, Nick Wright told a story about his weekend youth basketball coaching experience over the weekend.

The entire episode is podcasted on their website here.

The gist of it is that there was a younger referee and an older referee working his kid’s youth basketball game. I think he said it was 8th Grade Basketball.  The younger referee was “horrible.”  From the story he told, it sounds like he was pretty accurate in his description.  The ref gave Nick a Technical Foul for mouthing off and then later gave him a second technical for speaking to his team when he was restricted to the bench after the first techical.  (The rules Nick violated were likely league-specific, but the gist is that he mouthed off (in the eyes of the Ref) for the first T, and didn’t follow a procedure for the second T.  Two technicals results in an ejection.  However, the older ref stepped in and saved Nick’s execution and might’ve had a short discussion with the younger ref.

All of this is fine for discussion. It was an entertaining story and Nick’s co-hosts had a good time giving him some ribbing.  Ha ha, you almost got dumped from coaching kid’s basketball. Hee hee. That type of deal.

I was enjoying the story and wondering what the “full story” is since I’ve heard my umpiring efforts behind plenty of stories that start to take on “fish tale” bravado. That’s all fine. That’s how stories are told.

Then, Nick made a Cardinal sin. “I kind of want to say the guy’s name on the air because he was so bad.”

No. Nick. No… that’s a bad idea Nick…

His producer, Mark Carman encouraged him to do it after he heard how “bad” the official was. “After I heard this, Nick, I think you should do it.”

Nick then spoke the official’s name on the air.

Bad move, man. Unforgivable move.

Let me tell you why that’s such a stupid, classless move.

The issue goes well past how bad that official was. It goes to the very core of youth sports.  Youth sports are about learning. Youth sports are about being part of a team.

Youth sports are also about overcoming things that you cannot control.

Poor officiating, getting jobbed on calls are part of youth sports. The reasons are that the officials aren’t as good as refs you’re going to see in High School, College or the Pros.

You didn’t just call out one kid who might’ve been having an off night. You put into play your ability to attack ANY youth or amateur official in any sport.  You make public something that wasn’t yours to make public.

You made everyone who officiates, referees or umpires a youth event harder Tuesday.  You put them into play.

You should’ve showed some restraint and you clearly showed how uneducated you are about coaching and participating in youth sports.

I sincerely hope that you are reprimanded by your league and banned from coaching until you can insure that you’ll never make poor amateur officiating part of your show again at such a personal level.

There’s a LOT of bad officiating out there. And that’s regrettable. But your attempt at a joke, calling out this kid, make it that much less tasteful for other officials to keep working at their jobs.

As a coach or team official, it is your DUTY to notify the league that the ref is poor. It’s NOT your duty to notify the world.

Make fun of umpires. Identify why the officials made mistakes. That’s all fine. But once you make it personal, you cross a very dangerous line.

I don’t know a lot about many topics, but I know to the very core of myself that you fucked up Tuesday. You shouldn’t be allowed to coach again until you recognize that.


  1. Ty

    Name-dropping everyday people in a negative light on the air is classless, unless the person did something universally reprehensible. People in the media don’t know exactly how much power they wield by merely calling someone out. This person’s character was attacked and more than likely was embarrassed in front of thousands of people who live in the same city. And for what? Shock value? Ratings? This is why I’m starting to resent radio…this is what they do. This transcends sports officiating.

  2. Paul the Ump

    wow…….I totally agree…..and another downside to that is that the kid may now decide that the pressure of refering youth sports is not worth getting called out in public for…so thanks Nick Wrong……that poor kid may still referee
    for a long time, but it takes alot less than being called out on a local radio show to change a new referee’s mind…..shame on him.

  3. Easz88

    Not that I want to side with Nick, but you know it could have been worse. People who chose to ref youth sports had definitely be aware of what they’re getting themselves in to. Whether it’s badmouthing coaches to getting physically accosted by overbearing parents.

    Yea, so Nick abused his power as a radio show host and put that guys name on the air, but wouldn’t it be different if a parent or student had tweeted, “Hey ____ really called a bullshit game tonight! #YouthSportLeagueName”


  4. Charlie McKellips @cmckellips on twitter

    I completely agree with you, and I saw your exchange with Nick on twitter as I follow you both. That is classless. Officiating youth sports is perhaps one of the hardest jobs around. I’ve participated in rodeo events my whole life. Judges in that sport are no different then officials in mainstream sports. I remember when I was competing in steer wrestling in youth rodeos or calf roping when I would get what I feel unfairly penalized or didn’t get the time stopped when I should have. But I never once went and complained or said anything. I went about my business and looked towards next time. Now I announce rodeos, and I see questionable calls by judges all the time. It’s a kinda tough job because I have to act as play by play and color commentating, as well as like a PA announcer all at the same time, as usually I have to explain what is going on as well as promoting sponsors, contestants, and play background music at the same time. If I see that a judge disqualifies a bull rider for touching his bull with his free hand before the 8 seconds or a non call when clearly he did and gets the qualified ride, I don’t call out the judge and say he screwed over the other guy. Or if they dropped the flag too early on a roping timed event on one contestant to stop the time faster than someone else I don’t bring that up. Out of respect for authority and officiating you can not even act like they are there.

    Let the people who have the power to decide the fate of officials to take care of their poor judgement. It’s not the coach’s or participant’s job to criticize the officiating and especially not someone with a platform like Nick Wright’s that everyone in the area has the ability to listen to. It completely undermines authority and officiating. If I constantly questioned rodeo judges at the rodeos I announced, what kind of credibility would that bring to the sport I am trying to emphasize and make legitimate? Nick was completely out of line here and doesn’t teach fellow coaches or his players to respect the game. You must always respect officiating, good or bad, to respect the game, whatever sport it is.

  5. Pingback: More Bad News For Nick Wright, KK Strikes Him Out | Rambling Morons

  6. Easz88

    Sorry, I just can’t handle it. I’m not sure if it’s playing Devil’s Advocate or what, but I can’t continue to believe what we’re creating here:

    So, we have the unwritten rules of baseball (which recently – last 5 years ish – got a new rule about steroids)

    We clearly have the unwritten rules for football wives (way to fuck up Gisele – did I spell that right?? )

    Now we have the silent rules of 8th grade basketball official and crappy (okay I don’t know if Nick is crappy – but since he “done wrong” we’ll say he is) 8th grade bball coach.

    Is this what we’ve come to?

    Next thing you know we’ll be saying there’s no free speech on the internet… oh wait… they going there …yet again???

  7. Gary

    “but wouldn’t it be different if a parent or student had tweeted, “Hey ____ really called a bullshit game tonight! #YouthSportLeagueName””

    Yes, it would be different. Regular people normally only have like 50-100 followers. So at most, it’s their family and friends. Nick Wright, like him or not, has tens of thousands of people who listen to his talk show. Huge, huge, HUGE difference.

  8. Ty

    This isn’t about free speech. Yes, anyone has and SHOULD have the power to say whatever they want on whichever platform they choose. However, a little common decency and good judgment should be used. Is this any different than a student or parent tweeting their disagreement? Absolutely! The tweets of a student or parent will reach about 30 people…a few hundred MAX. The rant of a radio show host in the #32 media market will reach THOUSANDS within the same city. Also, when one volunteers to be a youth sports ref, they subject themselves to the scrutiny of coaches and parents…NOT to that of a public platform. Celebrities and politicians should expect something like, but lumping a youth ref into that same category is absurd. Then again, we live in the Age of the Internet where privacy is essentially nonexistent.

  9. Easz88

    It’s not that I don’t agree with you on your points, they’re very VERY valid, but to say that a tweet of a student or parent doesn’t reach thousands… well, very bluntly, you’re kidding yourself.

    Just think about that girl who made the mockery of Sam Brownback, and what a big fuss that made. Okay, given, that’s not going to happen reguarding this platform, but the point I’m making is, one tweet can go the world around, as long as it irks people in just the right way…much like a blog that posts about radio personalities can.

    I really did enjoy the back and forth between @getnickwright and @TheFakeNed yesterday…

  10. Ty

    Anyone’s tweets has the POTENTIAL to reach thousands, but it’s probably not going to happen that way unless a) the media is alerted (which is what happened with the girl’s tweet about Brownback or b) it’s powerful enough to get retweeted by a lot of people. In either case, if the tweet in question is a non-issue neither the media nor people on twitter will give a shit. Same thing holds true for blogs, podcasts, etc.

    To wrap this back around to radio personalities, they have the ability to turn a non-issue into something thousands of people talk about (e.g. THIS). You (assuming you don’t host your own radio/TV show) and I don’t hold that power within our tweets despite how much we would like to think they do.

  11. Easz88

    Okay, okay, so I don’t have any power, you’ve made me re-realize the reason I still don’t vote… anyway, so what happens now then?

    It’s not like anyone is really in an uproar, and again, as much as I’m arguing against this being such a horrible thing, I still think that it’s wrong – on the sense that it could cause that ref, or others like him in the future, to chose not doing youth leagues, which just makes the end all be all worse.

    What do we do about it? Do we do anything? Do we wait for Nick to come back to KC and then tar and feather him? (I’ve actually wanted to do that to someone…so I figure this sounds about the right amount of crime for that kind of punishment)

  12. Ty

    Nothing happens after this. Stuff like this will always take place. Chances are Nick will never read these comments and even if he does, I doubt he gives a shit what a few random people say…after all, a radio show host CAN’T care what people think about them (they would be severely depressed people if they did).

    I’m ranting about the topic here because before the Internet radio personalities would do stuff like this and walk away from it. The Internet makes it possible for them and others to realize how cool it isn’t…and I’m a major dick.

    With that said, YES, tar and feather Nick. Not because of what he did but because it would just be a fun thing to do.

  13. FakeNed (Post author)

    I care about you, Ty. *sniff* I care…

  14. Easz88

    Where can we go and get tar from these days? I mean, I can buy a few pillows, and I’m pretty sure I know where Nick is going to be in the near future…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *