Lawsuit Over Blown Call-In Football Game


The final whistle sounds. The coaches trot to midfield, the place where they’re supposed to shake hands and tell each other “good game.” Not this time. The losing coach eyes the winning coach and says, “You’d better lawyer up.”

Sound crazy? Far-fetched? Think again.

A high school in Oklahoma filed a lawsuit demanding the results of a football game be overturned after a referee clearly blew a call. The blown call called back a winning touchdown, and sent the wrong team ahead in the playoffs.

I’m the starting armchair quarterback in my house. I’ve had my share of times screaming at what I thought was a blown call in a game. Fans and coaches of other teams often feel the same way.

But does that mean teams should start suing each other when things don’t go their way? We’ve already got the challenge flag and the replay booth, so do we really need lawyers and judges to sort things out too?

Thankfully the judge rejected the case today. In a very well-thought-out ruling, the judge laid out why a lawsuit is so inappropriate in this situation:

Undoubtedly, the pursuit of further judicial action would result in the frustration of the world of athletics as we know it. This slippery slope of solving athletic contests in court instead of on campus will inevitably usher in a new era of robed referees and meritless litigation due to disagreement with or disdain for decisions of gaming officials – an unintended consequence which hurts both the court system and the citizens it is designed to protect.

Well said. When people abuse the court system the system, and the people that system protects (i.e. us) suffer. So don’t expect a new rash of lawsuits every time a coach or fanbase disagrees with a call or the outcome of a game.