LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sports, Referees, Spectators


On Tuesday 2-15-2022  I, Diana Tixier, the Grandmother of two of the varsity basketball players who play for Wiley High School and great Aunt to one of the Varsity girls, attended the basketball games in Granada, Colorado to watch them play.  The games were between the Granada/Wiley Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

I arrived to the ballgames near the end of the last quarter of the girl’s game. I sat directly behind the Wiley boys’ basketball team near the door. I settled in and began to listen to the Wiley fans around me who were clearly upset at the lack of integrity shown by the referees who were calling the game.

Statements such as “The referees are calling one sided against the Wiley girls, and that means the Wiley boys are going to be in for it too.” were made, as well as many other statements of similar concern.

The Wiley fans were angry and disappointed as the morale of the children is broken when they play their hearts out and are fighting a losing battle due to no fault of their own.

I thought to myself, “Oh no, not another one of those nights.” I have heard from a number of the players that “It is no use to try when we can’t win no matter how hard we try, because of the refs hating us.”  I realized that these occurrences could very likely affect these young impressionable kids for a lifetime in many aspects of their lives.

When the girl’s game ended, I went into the lunch room area and ate the Mexican food Granada offered.  This took some time and the 1st quarter of the boy’s game was nearly over when I returned.

I noticed 2 of the main Wiley players were setting on the bench and they remained there a long time. I inquired from those around me,” Why are they setting on the bench and why for so long? The response came quick, and by more than one person, “The Referees called fouls against them and they were NOT fouls, just like they did in the girl’s game.”

I sat and painfully watched until the end of the 3rd quarter. Now, remember I’m setting right behind the team and hearing and seeing a lot.

One of the main players that had been setting on the bench was allowed to go back into the game, but, not for long, another unjustified call was made against him and when he came to the coach he said “I didn’t foul” and I heard the coach respond, “I know it was a bad call, but you have to do your part.” And he sent him to the bench again. The young man hung his head and sat down.

Within seconds, I heard an angry lament from all around me. What they said was “Two of the referees were smiling due to their unfounded actions and the disgust of the parents observing it was rightfully unsettling to say the least, one referee actually smiled and winked at the other and they laughed aloud, which to us (The Wiley fans) was recognition of the unjust treatment and intent in the discriminatory behavior that had been displayed.” I did not see this, but I was told, “One of the referees had red hair and a red beard.”

When I asked why they laughed?  Many in the crowd responded “Because they want the main players setting on the bench.”  Shortly after a referee blew his whistle and stated “We have a warning on the blue bench!”

The coach asked him “What did I do wrong?” The referee responded “You were being a Jerk!”  The coach had not displayed any behavior to warrant this response, and the referee’s answer and demeanor were spiteful and very out of line. I later learned, the coach stepped across the line onto the court.

By this time, toward the end of the 3rd quarter of the boy’s game, I had, seen enough abuse of our teams and could no longer endure the ridiculous display of abuse of power, discrimination and blatant arrogance that had the boys completely disheartened! I gathered my coat and headed toward the door.

I realized the referees were teaching our children to lie and cheat to win, not just on the court, but in life, by using their positions of power to belittle the children, parents and coaches into acceptance of their abuse. “Let us tear your child’s spirit and drive for success down and watch quietly without standing up for what is right or get thrown out of the games, was the message they conveyed.”

The good Lord says, “If your complacent, and do nothing about it, then you are a part of it.” These were my thoughts as I headed to the door.

At the door a referee passed by, and in an effort to get his attention, I reached out and touched his arm. He was polite and did give me his attention and. I spoke for 2 or 3 seconds. I have some regret for my actions now, as I realize that the referee I spoke to was not one of the two who were, in their own words, “Being Jerks.” Admittedly, I should have stopped one of the other two referees that were the source of the problem and I hope, the young man I spoke to, can accept my apology. I left the gym and headed home out of disgust. And later learned I had done something that is considered to be wrong. I thought freedom of speech was a Constitutional Right.

I was unaware that it was against any regulation or rule to touch a referee’s arm. I certainly wasn’t trying to injure him, I’m a Great Grandmother, and well past that type of behavior! I was later informed that, The Local La Junta Referees League wanted me banned from all of the season ballgames and were seeking felony charges of assault against me.”

The Wiley School thankfully stood up for what was another attempt at abuse of power and violation of rights, this time of a senior citizen voicing her opinion, teaching the kids a valuable lesson about standing up for what is right! They were able to negotiate the terms so that I would not be put in the position of fighting an assault charge, but agreed to ban me from 2 Wiley games.

I served my sentence and did not attend the next 2 ballgames. I was then informed that the local referees still wanted to charge me with assault and ban me from all ballgames for the rest of the season or life, this coming after the matter was understood to have been settled. If we must follow Laws and Regulations at High School events, where is my right to Double Jeopardy?

Next, I was informed The Wiley School Board met with a Local Referee Representative, and I was told the school board, would not ban me from all games, and would not participate in the felony charge of assault the referees wanted to bring against me. But I was not allowed to set on the front row of the bleachers at any Wiley ballgame, and should be very careful and quiet, because they would be watching me.

Friday 2-25-22, I was informed the Local Referees (in what can only be an effort to chastise Wiley School.) refused to referee any Wiley games FOR NEXT SEASON AS WELL! Did the LOCAL REFEREES even consider their example of teaching our children to Lie and Cheat to win, as a problem? Didn’t these referees take an OATH to officiate the games without biased, to be righteous and show integrity as examples to our youth & not to purposefully create strife among the fans?

The Wiley School stood up for me, and I am thankful for it. I don’t know how long local referees will refuse to referee Wiley Games.  Maybe, until Wiley agrees to burn a great grandma at the stake, which will not happen, as they are not corrupt people.

I’ve been told, many of the local referees have never played basketball and some of them have family members playing on the teams they referee. I’ve been researching on the internet and CHSAA, trying to find the actual laws and regulations that the referees must adhere to. I have not been able to find anything.  Apparently, they don’t want parents, grandparents or the public to know the rules, yet they expect us to know our rules of conduct somehow.

I inquired of some of the Wiley ball players about the referees.  These are the questions I asked and their responses.

1st  Question: Were the referees making bad calls?

Answer:     Yes, but they were making bad calls on Granada’s side too.

My point; “The referee’s behavior is teaching, ALL the children that attend the games, that to lie and cheat to win is acceptable behavior, for no other reason than the referee said so. This is NOT OK!  Were the referees pitting the 2 basketball teams against each other, creating strife among the fans?

2nd Question: What does the coach say about the referees?

Answer:  Nothing bad, he never says bad things about the referees, He always says, “The referees might be calling bad calls, but it’s not just the referees, you have to do your part. But he has reported some of them.”

3rd Question:  Do you like your coach?

Answer:    Yes!

4th Question:  Do you respect your coach?

Answer:     Yes!

5th Question:  Can I mention your name in my letter?

Answer:      An emphatic NO!  From all asked.

One team mate answered, “You don’t understand!  If you mention me in anything your doing.  I’ll be stuck with fouls until I graduate and my little brothers too! “

Regardless, of whether the funding to pay the referees is gathered at the front door, as you enter to watch a ballgame, or the State of Colo. or property taxes. The Taxpayer, Parents & Great Grand Parents do have a voice IT IS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT!!

INSTANT REPLAYS might be an answer, which, will shine a light on bad calls and ill intended referees.

I, Diana, have never believed that bad behavior brings about good results. INSTANT REPLAYS SEEM TO BE AN ANSWER!

Thank you, Diana Tixier
Wiley, CO

Filed Under: Letters to the Editor


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